In Sports from United Press International

By United Press International  |  Nov. 6, 2001 at 12:52 AM
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Raiders finally beat Broncos

OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Rich Gannon threw three touchdown passes Monday night, two of them going to Tim Brown and two of them coming after he suffered a mild concussion, leading the Oakland Raiders to their first victory over the Denver Broncos in eight tries, 38-28.

Oakland improved to 6-1, sharing the best record in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams and surprising Chicago Bears. The Raiders opened a lead of 1 1/2 games over the St. Diego Chargers in the AFC West with the Broncos (4-4) falling 2 1/2 games out of the division lead. Oakland coach Jon Gruden, in his fourth year on the job, defeated the Broncos for the first time.

With the Raiders owning a 7-6 lead and threatening to increase it, Gannon scrambled around right end on first and goal from the seven and fell out of bounds at the one-yard line. But as he did, the helmet of Denver defensive back Denoy Kennedy slammed into Gannon's helmet.

Gannon was briefly motionless, but eventually got to his feet and was helped to the sidelines. He wound up missing only one play and that play turned out to be a one-yard touchdown run by Zack Crockett.

The Oakland quarterback, who opened the scoring with an 11-yard pass to Brown at the end of the first possession of the game, returned to hit Jon Ritchie with a four-yard touchdown toss with 70 seconds left in the first half that gave the Raiders a 21-6 lead at intermission.

Gannon then led Oakland on a 52-yard drive late in the third quarter that ended with a 19-yard throw to Brown and gave the Raiders a 16-point cushion.

Denver battled back to close within eight with 10 minutes remaining on an 11-yard throw from Brian Griese to Desmond Clark and a two-point coversion pass to Rod Smith.

But in short order, Oakland put the game out of reach on a 31-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski and a three-yard scoring run by Crockett that followed a 33-yard interception return from William Thomas. Those 10 points came in a span of 22 seconds.

Gannon completed 20 of 25 passes for 183 yards in the first half and finished with 25 of 34 for 242 yards. Nine of those completions went to Brown for 95 yards. Brown caught four passes for 44 yards on the opening drive of the game and had eight for 76 in the first half.

Gannon has not thrown an interception since the first game of the season.

Victory parade set for Wednesday

PHOENIX, Ariz., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The city of Phoenix will honor the newly crowned World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks by throwing them a parade today.

Arizona rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera Sunday night to win the seventh and deciding game of the Series, 3-2.

The Diamondbacks reached the championship quicker than any other franchise, doing so in their fourth year. In the process, they ended the three-year run of the Yankees and denied baseball's most storied franchise its 27th championship.

"I really don't think it has sunk in yet. It was overwhelming," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said Monday. "We talk in baseball about playing for the feeling or the money. You can't reproduce that feeling chemically. That's the most unbelievable feeling you can ever experience."

The euphoria in Phoenix, however, masked the problems that baseball must face now that one of the most riveting World Series in history is over.

As early as this week, the commissioner could announce that two teams will be disbanded with Minnesota and Montreal being mentioned the most. In addition, the threat of an impasse with the players has led to concerns about next season.

Those worries were at least temporarily put aside while the sport celebrated an amazing conclusion to the 2001 season.

The seventh game of the World Series saw baseball reach its highest popularity in a decade.

The Fox network reported Game 7 was seen by approximately 72.9 million television viewers and drew the highest rating since the seventh game of the 1991 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves.

Two out of every three viewers in Phoenix watched the game.

Seattle survives in double overtime

ORLANDO, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Gary Payton scored seven of his 32 points in the final 1:52 of the second overtime period Monday night and Tracy McGrady faltered down the stretch as the Seattle SuperSonics opened a five-game road trip with an exhausting 123-119 victory over the Orlando Magic.

McGrady opened the second overtime with a jumper that gave the Magic a 113-111 lead, their first since the opening quarter. Orlando fell behind before McGrady made a spinning layup to tie it with 2:13 to go.

Payton scored five straight points around a layup by Orlando's Grant Hill to give Seattle a 120-117 lead. Another layup by Hill cut the deficit to one and Payton was called for traveling with 40 seconds ledt.

Orlando put the ball in the hands of McGrady, who made an errant pass out of bounds. Payton then hit one of two free throws for a 121-119 edge and McGrady missed a layup with 14 seconds remaining as Seattle escaped with its first road victory.

In the only other NBA game on the schedule, the Los Angeles Clippers earned their first victory of the season by downing Atlanta, 109-86.

Bonds leads free-agent class

NEW YORK, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Home run king Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants and Jason Giambi of the Oakland Athletics were among a whopping 104 players to file for free agency Monday.

Eligible free agents were able to officially file following the conclusion of the World Series, which ended Sunday night when the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the New York Yankees.

Those players will have 15 days to formally file for free agency, at which point they can sign with new teams.

Bonds hit 73 homers to break Mark McGwire's single-season record of 70 and is among the candidates for the National League Cy Young Award. The superstar left fielder also hit .328 and drove in 137 runs.

Giambi, a strong contender to win his snd straight Most Valuable Player Award, hit .342 with 38 homers and 120 RBI to help the Athletics to a wild card berth. The first baseman was joined on Monday by outfielder Johnny Damon, who hit just .256 with 49 RBI in his first season in Oakland.

Other free agents expected to receive lucrative deals include Houston Astros outfielder Moises Alou and Cleveland Indians outfielder Juan Gonzalez, both of whom filed Monday.

The only members of the Diamondbacks to file on the first day were pitchers Mike Mohler and Bobby Witt, but several prominent members of the Yankees joined the list.

First baseman Tino Martinez and third baseman Scott Brosius, who hit game-tying ninth-inning homers in Games 4 and 5 of the World Series, filed along with outfielder Chuck Knoblauch, infielder Randy Velarde and pitcher Mark Wohlers.

White Sox release David Wells

CHICAGO, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The Chicago White Sox announced Monday they have declined to exercise a 2002 contract option on lefthander David Wells, who never lived up to expectations after being acquired in a January trade with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Chicago also declined 2002 options on righthander Cal Eldred and southpaw Alan Embree.

Acquired in the deal that sent injured lefthander Mike Sirotka to Toronto, Wells was just 5-7 with a 4.47 ERA in 16 starts for Chicago. His season was cut short by a back injury that required surgery. The vocal Wells compounded his problems by being a distraction in the clubhouse.

Wells posted his first career 20-win season for the Blue Jays in 2000, but wore out his welcome and was shipped to Chicago. The deal was reviewed by the commissioner's office after allegations the White Sox knew of Sirotka's elbow problems at the time of the trade. Sirotka missed the entire 2001 season.

The 38-year-old Wells has a 166-114 record with a 4.08 ERA in 15 seasons with the Blue Jays, Detroit, Cincinnati, Baltimore and the New York Yankees. Wells pitched a perfect game for the Yankees in 1998.

Indians re-sign closer Bob Wickman

CLEVELAND, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Realizing a failed gamble with controversial closer John Rocker, the Cleveland Indians have made a commitment to closer Bob Wickman.

New Indians general manager Mark Shapiro made re-signing Wickman his top priority and acted quickly, reaching agreement with the closer on a three-year contract with a club option for the 2005 season on Monday -- the first day players are eligible to file for free agency.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Former Indians general manager John Hart acquired Rocker from the Atlanta Braves in June for relievers Steve Karsay and Steve Reed. Manager Charlie Manuel promptly bumped Wickman from the closer's role, handing it to Rocker. Annoyed by the demotion to setup man, Wickman vowed to leave the team as a free agent at the end of the season.

Dombrowski becomes president of Tigers

DETROIT, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Dave Dombrowski, who helped the Florida Marlins win a World Series in just the fifth year of their existence, was named president of the Detroit Tigers Monday.

Widely regarded as one of baseball's top executives, Dombrowski will try to reverse the fortunes of a franchise that went 66-96 last season for an unprecedented eighth straight losing season.

The Detroit Free Press reported today that "all indications" point to the Tigers retaining general manager Randy Smith, who has two years left on his deal.

According to the Free Press, Dombrowski chose the Tigers over two other options -- becoming general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays or remaining president and GM of the cost-conscious Marlins, with whom he had two years and more than $2 million left on his contract.

Dombrowski became general manager of the Marlins in 1991, 18 months before the franchise played its first game, and built a team that won a World Series in 1997, a feat unmatched until the Arizona Diamondbacks won the title Sunday night in just their fourth year.

Tubbs to resign at TCU

FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Billy Tubbs, who helped rebuild the Texas Christian basketball program, announced Monday he would resign at the end of the upcoming season.

Tubbs made the announcement prior to the Horned Frogs' first exhibition game.

There were reports Tubbs had decided to leave the school due to irreconcilable differences with athletic director Eric Hyman.

Hyman did not attend Monday's news conference. But in a statement, he said, "Billy Tubbs has been a major force in college basketball and a master teacher of the game."

Tubbs refuted reports that he clashed with the school's administration.

"I would classify that as another rumor," he said. "It is a rumor that has circulated. I am not going to point fingers here or there. I am responsible for this decision. I do not hold anyone else responsible."

Tubbs also indicated he would attempt to remain in coaching after leaving TCU.

UCLA AD stepping down

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- UCLA athletics director Peter Dalis announced Monday he will retire June 30.

"It has been very rewarding to work with such an outstanding group of coaches, and student athletes, and I will take great pride in having been associated with a program of such quality," said Dalis.

Dalis, 63, made the surprise announcement following UCLA football coach Bob Toledo's weekly meeting with reporters.

Chancellor Albert Carnesale said a search committee chaired by Vice Chancellor Peter Blackman would be formed to find a replacement. Blackman said he expects UCLA will have a new athletics director in place by spring.

Hurricanes move up in BCS

MIAMI, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The Miami Hurricanes can stop complaining -- at least for now. If the college football regular season had ended Monday, the Hurricanes would be playing in the national title game.

Miami rose one spot to second in the Bowl Championship Series ratings released today, swapping places with defending national champion Oklahoma.

As expected, Nebraska (10-0) remained first in the ratings for the second straight week with a mark of 2.62 points. Miami (7-0) is second with a 6.61 mark with the Sooners (8-1) 1.22 points behind.

The top two teams in the final BCS poll, released Dec. 9, will play for the national title in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 3.

The system was a source of controversy last season when Miami was left out of the title game in favor of Florida State, which lost to the Hurricanes earlier in the year.

A similar scenario appeared ready to unfold this season for the Hurricanes, who now have the nation's longest winning streak at 17 games but were fourth in the first BCS poll released two weeks ago.

Miami's schedule ranks 72nd out of 117 Division I-A teams, but that component could improve with late-season games against Syracuse and Washington.

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