Dodgers and Red Sox are in...Pirates climb within a game of top
UNDATED (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers are the first major league baseball team to pop the champagne this season. The Dodgers clinched their first NL West title since 2009 by rallying past Arizona 7-6 behind a pair of home runs by Hanley Ramirez.
Despite an NL-high payroll of $214 million-plus on opening day, the Dodgers got off to a 30-42 start. They were last in the division, 9½ games behind the first-place Diamondbacks, before play on June 22. Los Angeles has gone 58-23 since.
In the rest of the NL:
__ The St. Louis Cardinals' lead over Pittsburgh in the NL Central is down to one game. Colorado outlasted the Cardinals 7-6 in 15 innings. Corey Dickerson's RBI triple with one out in the bottom of the 15th ended it.
—The Pirates have helped their cause with a 10-1 win over San Diego. Jose Tabata and Neil Walker led the attack for the Bucs with three runs batted in each and Pedro Alvarez hit his NL-leading 34th homer. Gerrit Cole got the win going six innings striking out 12. The Pirates open up a big weekend series against the third-place Reds Friday night in Pittsburgh. They sit a game ahead of Reds,
__ Washington got a first-inning three-run homer from Bryce Harper and beat Florida 3-2. The Nationals are five games back of Cincinnati for the final wild card berth with nine games left. Denard Span's 29-game hitting streak ended as he went 0 for 4.
— Madison Bumgarner struck out 10 in seven innings to lead San Francisco to a 2-1 win over the Mets. Bumgarner has gone 19 straight starts without allowing more than three earned runs.
— Luis Valbuena, Nate Schierholtz (SHEER'-holtz)and Brian Bogusevic (boh-guh-SEHV'-ihk) homered to lead the Cubs to a 5-1 win over Milwaukee.
In the AL:
__ Boston clinched a playoff berth by beating Baltimore 3-1 on a John Lackey two-hitter. Lackey didn't allow a hit until Adam Jones hit a one-out home run in the seventh inning. The Red Sox clinched at least a wild card berth and reduced their magic number to two for clinching the AL East.
__ Toronto handed the New York Yankees their fifth loss in six games, 6-2. Hiroki Kuroda (hih-ROH'-kee kuh-ROH'-duh) lost his fifth straight decision to fall to 11-12.
— Prince Fielder had three hits and scored the tie-breaking run in the seventh inning to lead Detroit to a 5-4 win over Seattle.
Wright is coming back
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets report that third baseman David Wright is expected to return to the lineup Friday night in Philadelphia after missing seven weeks with a strained right hamstring. Wright, a seven-time All-Star and the team captain, has a .391 on-base percentage with 16 homers, 54 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.
Chiefs leading Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eric Berry intercepted Michael Vick and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown, Ryan Succop kicked three field goals and Andy Reid's Kansas City Chiefs took a 16-6 lead over the turnover-prone Philadelphia Eagles at halftime.
Vick threw two picks and the Eagles lost two fumbles. The four turnovers in the first half were more than they had in the first two games combined. Vick also got sacked four times, three by Justin Houston.
This is a reunion as former Eagles coach Andy Reid returns as the new coach of the Chiefs. Reid led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, six division titles, five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl in 14 seasons before he was fired after going 4-12 last year.
The Chiefs are 2-0 while the Eagles, with new coach Chip Kelly, are 1-1.
Browns sign McGahee
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Browns have signed free agent running back Willis McGahee, giving them a capable veteran after trading Trent Richardson. The 31-year-old McGahee, passed his physical as the Browns were practicing. He brings much-needed experience after the Browns dealt Richardson to Indianapolis on Wednesday.
McGahee played for Denver last season.
It's not yet known if he will play Sunday when the Browns visit Minnesota.
Napa pulls MWR sponsorship
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NAPA Auto Parts says it will end its multimillion-dollar sponsorship of Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of the year. That's the latest fallout from the team's attempt to manipulate the race in Richmond two weeks ago to get Martin Truex Jr. into NASCAR's version of the playoffs.
Napa is Truex's primary sponsor and in the first year of a three-year extension announced last August. The deal ran through the 2015 season and is believed to be worth at least $15 million a year.
Texas regent pursued Saban
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) —A University of Texas regent and a former regent talked with Nick Saban's agent about the possibility of the Crimson Tide coach replacing Longhorns coach Mack Brown, The Associated Press has learned. The contact came just days after Saban led Alabama to the 2013 national championship.
Regent Wallace Hall of Dallas told the AP he spoke by telephone with agent Jimmy Sexton a few days after the Jan. 7 game. Tom Hicks, a former regent, also was on the call. Hicks was a regent in 1997 when Brown came to Texas and was instrumental in hiring him away from North Carolina.
Two days after the call with Sexton, Tom Hicks met with Brown over lunch and told him about the call, according to several people who spoke with the AP. He asked Brown if he was ready to retire.
Brown said he wanted to keep coaching and the matter was dropped.
For his part, Saban said on his weekly radio show Thursday night he's not going anywhere. He says he hasn't spoken to anybody about "that particular situation."
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-FSU SUSPENSIONS
'Noles suspend 2 starts for Bethune-Cookman
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State has suspended two starters — linebacker Christian Jones and defensive end Eddie Goldman — for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Coach Jimbo Fisher said the players were suspended for one game and will miss Saturday's nonconference contest against Bethune-Cookman.
Clemson looks to improve on ranking
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Clemson Tigers are unbeaten after two games and ranked third in The Associated Press Top-25 poll. This evening the team coached by Dabo (DA'-boh) Swinney has an Atlantic Coast Conference game against North Carolina State on the Wolfpack's turf in Raleigh, N.C. NC State is also 2-0.
Clemson is leading N.C. State 26-7 late in the game.
Stenson takes the lead
ATLANTA (AP) — Henrik Stenson shot a 6-under 64 for a great start to the Tour Championship where he is one of five that could wind up winning the $10 million FedEx Cup top prize by winning the tournament.
Another is Adam Scott, who trails by just one shot. Among the others, Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson posted 69's and Tiger Woods opened with a 73 in the final of the four FedEx Cup playoff events.
Surgery for Andy Murray
LONDON (AP) — Wimbledon champion Andy Murray will have surgery on a long-standing back problem and miss the rest of the season. A statement from his management company says Murray sought medical advice after playing on hard courts and clay this summer. He won Wimbledon in July for his second Grand Slam title.
Woods missed a short birdie putt on his opening hole that set the tone for the day. He was the only player in the 30-man field to go without a birdie.
TRACK AND FIELD
Bolt likes the money
LONDON (AP) — Less than three weeks ago track superstar Usain (yoo-SAYN') Bolt said he would stop racing after the 2016 Summer Olympics. Now he says that after talking to his sponsors, and his fans, he is reconsidering. Pointing to commercial motives, Bolt says the fans "think I should carry on and so do my sponsors."
Oracle stays alive
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Defending champion Oracle Team USA sped around San Francisco Bay to win Race 12 by 31 seconds and prevent Emirates Team New Zealand from sailing off with the America's Cup. Race 13 was called off because of excess wind.
Big money match
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s dominating win over Canelo Alvarez Saturday night was the richest fight ever, a box-office smash at the arena and on television.
The fight will generate nearly $150 million revenue in TV sales alone. Nevada boxing regulators say the gate for the bout was just more than $20 million, also a record.