Weekend Sports in Brief

Weekend Sports in Brief
October 22, 2012, 7:38 am
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Ryan Vogelsong struck out a career-best nine in another postseason gem and the San Francisco Giants forced a decisive Game 7 in the NL championship series with a 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday night.

Marco Scutaro hit a two-run double and Buster Posey drove in his first run of the series with a groundout in the first inning as San Francisco struck early to support Vogelsong.

Matt Cain will start for the Giants against Kyle Lohse in Game 7 on Monday night. Lohse won their Game 3 matchup.

BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Red Sox hired John Farrell to be their new manager on Sunday, obtaining their former pitching coach from the Blue Jays in a trade for infielder Mike Aviles.

Farrell had been the Toronto manager the past two seasons, posting a 154-170 record with two fourth-place finishes. He had one year remaining on his contract with the Blue Jays, allowing them to demand compensation from Boston.

PRO FOOTBALL

SAN DIEGO (AP) - If coming off consecutive tough losses wasn't bad enough, the San Diego Chargers will return to work Monday with another distraction.

NFL said Sunday it is investigating whether the Chargers used a banned sticky substance during Monday night's loss to the Denver Broncos.

If the league determines the Chargers used the substance, they could be fined or lose a draft pick.

Fox Sports first reported the investigation on Sunday.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The NFL players' union might challenge former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue replacing Roger Goodell as the appeals officer in the Saints' bounties case.

The players association has concerns about ``ethical and legal issues,'' a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Sunday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the union has not made any public statements.

The NFL had no comment.

Tagliabue is scheduled to hear the appeals of Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove on Oct. 30. He was appointed Friday by Goodell, his successor as commissioner.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Colts coach Chuck Pagano watched Sunday's game from home, hours after being released from an Indianapolis hospital.

Interim coach Bruce Arians provided the update following Indy's 17-13 victory over Cleveland.

Pagano has missed Indy's last three games after being diagnosed with leukemia. He had been in the hospital receiving treatment since Sept. 26, and though he will continue to undergo treatment for several more weeks, Arians says he can at least stay home.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Alabama ran its streak of weeks at No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll to eight, the longest stay atop the rankings by the Crimson Tide.

The Tide has twice previously been No. 1 for seven consecutive weeks - in 1979 when Bear Bryant coached `Bama to a national title and in 1980 when the Tide finished sixth.

Oregon is No. 2 for the fifth consecutive week, though the gap between the Ducks and No. 3 Florida, which received the other first-place vote, narrowed after the Gators beat South Carolina 44-11 on Saturday.

The rest of the top six was also unchanged after No. 4 Kansas State, No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 6 LSU all won.

South Carolina dropped from ninth to No. 17.

Alabama also remained at the top of the BCS standings, followed by Florida, Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame.

AUTO RACING

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Matt Kenseth won for the second time in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in a caution-marred race at repaved Kansas Speedway.

The fast new surface and a hard tire contributed to Sunday's race-record 14 cautions, a season high for the Sprint Cup Series.

Nobody was immune from the problems, as at least five title contenders had issues.

Jimmie Johnson led 44 laps early, but crashed hard after spinning by himself. He had to stop at least a half-dozen times on pit road for repairs over two caution periods to salvage a ninth-place finish.

It was enough to keep the margin unchanged with Chase leader Brad Keselowski, who finished one spot ahead in eighth and maintained his seven-point lead in the standings with four races remaining.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Ricky Stenhouse Jr. came back from two laps down Saturday to win the Nationwide Series race at Kansas Speedway.

The race was extended six laps because of a late caution, which helped Stenhouse grab his series-leading sixth win of the season because the cars in front of him didn't have enough gas to make it to the finish.

PRO BASKETBALL

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dwight Howard had 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots in his Lakers debut, but Los Angeles still dropped to 0-6 in the preseason when DeMarcus Cousins rallied the Sacramento Kings to a 99-92 victory on Sunday night.

The Lakers finally unveiled their new franchise center after Howard sat out the first five preseason games while exercising caution with his surgically repaired back. The six-time All-Star played 33 minutes and made five turnovers, overcoming six months of game rust with energy from the opening tip.

NEW YORK (AP) - Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire is expected to miss the start of the regular season and be out two to three weeks because of an injured left knee.

He returned to New York on Sunday for another evaluation, and an MRI revealed a ruptured benign cyst, the team said.

PRO HOCKEY

NEW YORK (AP) - While the NHL and the players' association are keeping the lines of communication open, they don't seem to be moving any closer to getting back to the bargaining table.

For the second straight day, representatives on both sides of the lockout had telephone conversations Sunday. None of those talks have yet led to concrete negotiations that could lead to an elusive collective bargaining agreement and get the delayed hockey season going.

``We had a conference call today to answer some of their questions,'' NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press in an email Sunday. ``No bargaining. And no bargaining meetings scheduled.''

Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr also had discussions on Saturday.

GOLF

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) - Tommy Gainey narrowly missed golf's magic number. He happily settled for a course-record 60 at Sea Island, and his first PGA Tour win Sunday in the McGladrey Classic.

Gainey became the fourth player this year to rally from at least seven shots behind in the final round to win on the PGA Tour. He made seven straight 3s on his way to a 29 on the back nine, and then had to wait more than two hours to see if Jim Furyk or anyone else could catch him.

INCHEON, South Korea (AP) - Suzann Pettersen won the HanaBank Championship for her ninth LPGA Tour title, beating Catriona Matthew with a 5-foot birdie putt on the third hole of playoff after blowing a big lead.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Tamika Catchings scored 25 points to help the Indiana Fever win their first WNBA championship with an 87-78 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night.

Catchings, who added the MVP trophy to her first WNBA title, averaged 24.8 points in the series, which the Fever won 3-1 over the defending WNBA champions.

Erin Phillips added 18 points and eight rebounds while Shavonte Zellous and Briann January each had 15 points.

TENNIS

LUXEMBOURG (AP) - Venus Williams won her first WTA tournament in more than two years, beating Monica Niculescu of Romania 6-2, 6-3 to take the Luxembourg Open title on Sunday.

STOCKHOLM (AP) - Tomas Berdych won his second ATP title this year by rallying to beat top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the Stockholm Open final on Sunday.

VALENCIA, Spain (AP) - Marin Cilic of Croatia recovered from a shaky start to beat Slovakia's Martin Klizan 1-6, 6-0, 6-3 in the first round of the Valencia Open on Sunday.