Diamondbacks, Yankees face elimination
ANAHEIM, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The teams that played in the 2001 World Series -- the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees -- both face elimination from the 2002 playoffs Saturday when baseball conducts what could be the most riveting day of the season.
All the playoff teams will be in action in four pressure-packed games.
The activity will begin at 1 p.m. EDT with Minnesota hoping to stay alive against Oakland. At 4 p.m., Anaheim will try to eliminate the Yankees and Atlanta will be at San Francisco in a series that is deadlocked at 1-1. And in the evening, Arizona will be at St. Louis, where the Cardinals will try to oust the defending champions.
In Friday's action, Anaheim and Oakland came away with emotional victories.
Darin Erstad put Anaheim in front with a ninth-inning double and Tim Salmon followed with a two-run homer, completing a comeback, giving the Angels a 9-6 victory and pushing the New York Yankees to the brink of playoff elimination.
For the second straight game, Anaheim rallied against the New York bullpen -- this time coming back from a 6-1 deficit to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series.
New York's Mike Stanton came on with two out in the sixth and allowed the Yankees to escape that inning with a one-run advantage. But Stanton gave up the tying run in the seventh and the go-ahead run in the eighth.
Anaheim's bullpen, meanwhile, pitched shutout baseball. All six New York runs were charged to starter Ramon Ortiz, although John Lackey allowed two inherited runners to score in the third. After Lackey left the game, Scott Schoenweis, Francisco Rodriguez and Troy Percival pitched 3 1/3 innings of hitless relief.
Rodriguez, a 20-year-old September callup who won Game 2 of the series in New York Wednesday night, won again Friday evening by retiring the only six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings -- four on strikeouts.
In Minneapolis, Ray Durham and Scott Hatteberg opened the game with two of Oakland's four home runs and the Athletics overcame the constant noise created by the largest home crowd in franchise history to down the Minnesota Twins, 6-3.
The Twins rallied from an early 3-0 deficit against starter Barry Zito to deadlock the game in the fifth inning, creating a relentless wave of noise from the 55,932 fans who wedged themselves into the Metrodome.
But Jermaine Dye led off the sixth with a liner into the left field seats to put Oakland back in front and the Athletics held on to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. The Athletics will send Tim Hudson to the mound Saturday in hopes of finishing off the Twins. Minnesota will counter with Eric Milton.
Durham stunned the Minnesota crowd when he led off the game with a line drive to center. Torri Hunter attempted to make a shoestring catch, but the ball scooted under his glove and bounded along the artificial surface to the wall. Durham had no trouble racing around the bases for an inside-the-park homer -- the first ever hit in a division series game.
Fresno State wins thriller
FRESNO, Calif., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Cameron Worrell batted down Bradlee Van Pelt's pass on a two-point conversion attempt with 50 seconds remaining Friday night as the Fresno State Bulldogs held on for a 32-30 triumph over the 22nd-ranked Colorado State Rams.
One year ago against the 10th-ranked, David Carr-led Bulldogs, Colorado State took a 22-19 lead on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Van Pelt to Pete Rebstock on fourth down with 27 seconds left. But Asen Asparuhov kicked a 48-yard field goal on the final play of regulation, then converted a 41-yarder in overtime to give Fresno State a 25-22 victory.
his time, Fresno State took a 32-21 lead on Asparuhov's 38-yard field goal with 2:46 left in the third quarter. The kicker missed a 52-yard attempt early in the fourth, but his teammates blocked a 32-yard attempt by Colorado State's Jeff Babcock with 7:39 to play to maintain the lead.
Babcock connected on a 31-yarder to make it 32-24 with 4:32 to play and, after a successful defensive stand, Colorado State got within 32-30 on a one-yard run to the right side by Cecil Sapp with 50 seconds to go.
Van Pelt and Sapp each had run for more than 100 yards, but the Bulldogs elected to pass on the two-point conversion attempt. Van Pelt's throw to Joey Cuppari in double coverage was denied by Worrell.
Tide try to spoil the Georgia party
TUSCALOOSA, Ala., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Although Alabama has no invitation to the party, the The Crimson Tide will be trying to spoil the fun for somebody else Saturday.
One of college football's bigger surprises this season, Alabama will try to hand sixth-ranked Georgia its first loss in a key Southeastern Conference game.
Due to NCAA probation, Alabama is not eligible for a bowl game or the SEC title. Yet the Crimson Tide (4-1) nearly upset Oklahoma last month and has the talent to finish the job this week against Georgia (4-0).
Saturday offers a chance for several schools like Alabama to crash the party of high ranked teams.
It starts with No. 2 Texas (4-0) and No. 3 Oklahoma (4-0), who will play their Big 12 Conference openers before staging their Red River Rivalry next week in Dallas.
Oklahoma State will try to catch the Longhorns looking ahead while Missouri, led by freshman sensation Brad Smith, will try to do the same when they welcome the Sooners in a night game.
Georgia will try to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1982, when Herschel Walker was on his way to the Heisman Trophy. The Crimson Tide hold a 35-22-4 lead in the all-time series and have won all seven meetings in Tuscaloosa.
Saturday's schedule features just two matchups between ranked teams, and none of those schools rank higher than 15th.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno should have no trouble motivating his players for Saturday's Big Ten Conference contest against 15th-ranked Wisconsin.
Not only are the 21st-ranked Nittany Lions (3-1) coming off a heartbreaking 42-35 overtime loss to Iowa, but last season's 18-6 defeat to Wisconsin resulted in the worst offensive peformance in Paterno's 37-year tenure as coach.
Penn State was held to 131 total yards by Wisconsin last season, including just 23 rushing.
No. 20 Southern California (3-1) visits No. 17 Washington State (4-1) in a matchup of two of the better quarterbacks in the Pac-10 Conference -- Carson Palmer and Jason Gesser.
Gesser threw for 431 yards and four touchdowns in last week's win over California and will face a USC defense that shut down Oregon State, 22-0, in its most recent outing.
Top-rated Miami (4-0) will prepare for next weekend's meeting with Florida Sate by hosting Connecticut. The Hurricanes will try to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 27 games.
NASCAR qualifying canceled
TALLADEGA, Ala., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The remnants of Tropical Storm Lili made an appearance at Talladega Superspeedway Friday, just long enough to cancel qualifying for Sunday's EA Sports 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race.
A short rainstorm about one hour before qualifications were set to begin was just enough to throw the entire schedule off track.
By the time the massive 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway was close to being dry, NASCAR officials determined there would not be enough daylight for all 47 cars to make a qualifying attempt.
The 43-car starting lineup will be set by current Winston Cup standings points.
That means rookie Jimmie Johnson will start his Chevrolet on the pole alongside Mark Martin in a Ford. Tony Stewart will start third in a Pontiac, followed by defending Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon.
"I guess one of the benefits of being the points leader at this time is the perk of starting up front for this race," Johnson said. "Track position is important here, but you can be leading the first lap and last the following lap so it's not as important as at other tracks."
Rookie Jamie McMurray, who takes over the Coors Light Dodge after Sterling Marlin broke a vertebra in his neck, rounded out the top five.
Iverson breaks finger
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Philadelphia 76ers superstar guard Allen Iverson suffered a fractured right middle finger in practice Friday and will be sidelined two to four weeks, putting his return for the season opener in jeopardy.
In addition, swingman Greg Buckner suffered a sprained MCL in practice and will be out four to six weeks.
Iverson was examined by doctors at University Orthopedics of State College on the Penn State campus. He will be examined Saturday by 76ers team physician Dr. Jack McPhilemy, who will determine a course of action.
Mayfair shares Michelob lead
KINGSMILL, Va., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Billy Mayfair fired an 8-under-par 63 on Friday and grabbed a share of the lead after the second round of the Michelob Championship.
David Duval, the champion here in 1997-98, shot a 2-under-par 69 to join Mayfair atop the leaderboard with a 9-under-par 133 after 36 holes.
Mayfair's stunning round, which featured eight birdies and no bogeys, certainly was unexpected. The 36-year-old missed the cut in three of his four previous outings and has recorded just two top-10 finishes in 27 events.
But despite his season-long struggles, Mayfair managed to register his best round since posting a final round 61 at the 2001 Buick Open.
Hidemichi Tanaka, who recorded his first top-10 finish of the season just three weeks ago, was one shot of the pace. Entering this week, the Japanese player's best position through 36 holes was sixth at the Greater Hartford Open and Tampa Bay Classic.
A half-dozen players were two shots back, including Charles Howell III, who posted a 6-under 65 on Friday.
Kerr takes lead in elite LPGA tourney
VALLEJO, Calif., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Cristie Kerr holed a pitch shot from deep rough at the final hole for her second eagle of the round Friday to shoot a course-record, 8-under 64 and take a one-shot lead over Annika Sorenstam midway through the Samsung World Championship.
In rocketing to the top of an elite leaderboard, Kerr had two eagles, seven birdies and three bogeys at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club for a 36-hole total of 12-under 132 -- just two shots off the 72-hole tournament record.
Kerr's round matched her best this season and fell just one stroke shy of her career low.
Sorenstam had seven birdies and two bogeys en route to a 67 that left her alone in second at 11-under 133. The Swedish star, who had a hole-in-one Thursday, is aiming for her ninth LPGA Tour title of the year.
Rosie Jones shot a 66 and was third at 134, a stroke ahead of Redman, who was the only player in the top 10 who failed to crack 70 Friday.
Janikowski arrested in Oakland
OAKLAND, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski has landed in trouble again following his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence.
According to officer Annie Greenfield of the California Highway Patrol, Janikowski was stopped for speeding on Interstate 580 in Oakland. Officers smelled alcohol on his breath and administered a field sobriety test, which Janikowski failed.
The latest brush with the law for Janikowski could make him subject to fine or suspension if he already is in the NFL's substance-abuse program. Because of confidentiality guidelines, it is unknown whether he is in the program.
Hurricanes president resigns
RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Jim Cain resigned as president and chief operating officer of the Carolina Hurricanes Friday after helping the team increase attendance, obtain television and radio contracts and secure a naming-rights deal.
Cain had overseen the business side of the franchise since January 2000, teaming with owner Peter Karmanos and general manager Jim Rutherford to gain respectability.
Under Cain's leadership, attendance at the Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena has increased 25 percent. The team also signed new TV and radio deals and an $80 million naming-rights contract with RBC Centura.