Bears get past Cowboys 34-18 with defense, Cutler
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman returned interceptions for touchdowns and the Chicago Bears beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-18 last night.
Tony Romo threw five interceptions, matching the most in his career. Major Wright had two of the picks, and the one by Briggs came on a wild two-play exchange of turnovers midway through the third quarter.
Chicago's first fumble of the season came when Jay Cutler was sacked by DeMarcus Ware and Victor Butler to set up Dallas (2-2) at the Bears 27.
On the very next play, Romo was trying to escape pressure when he was hit from behind by Henry Melton. The ball popped forward into the air and Briggs grabbed it and rumbled for his first interception return for a score since 2005 to put the Bears (3-1) ahead 24-7.
White Sox clobber Indians 11-0, but lose division
CLEVELAND (AP) — Rookie Hector Santiago allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings and Chicago beat Cleveland 11-0 before the White Sox were eliminated in the AL Central race when Detroit won the division last night.
Santiago (4-1), who began the season as Chicago's closer, struck out a season-high 10. The Indians' only hit off the left-hander was Shin-Soo Choo's two-out single in the third.
With just their third win in 13 games, the White Sox collapsed down the stretch after being in first place in the division for 63 straight days.
Chicago scored four runs in the sixth off Corey Kluber (2-5).
Cubs two-hit by Astros to reach 100 losses
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs got their 100th loss of the season when Lucas Harrell threw six shutout innings to lead the Houston Astros to a 3-0 win last night.
Four Houston pitchers combined on a two-hitter and Fernando Martinez homered for the third consecutive game. The Astros avoided their franchise-record 107th loss in the opener of their final series in the National League before they move to the American League next season.
The Cubs lost 100 games in a season for the first time since 1966 and were shut out for the 14th time this season. Chicago has lost more than 99 games twice, setting the franchise record of 103 losses in 1962 and 1966. The Cubs have dropped 12 of their last 14.
Houston has matched its franchise record for losses with 106, but the Astros have won four of their last five and are 14-14 since Sept. 1.
Cards top Reds 4-2, clinch tie for 2nd wild card
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jaime Garcia homered off Bronson Arroyo and pitched into the seventh inning, helping the St. Louis Cardinals clinch a tie for the second NL wild card and spoil Dusty Baker's return from a mini-stroke with a 4-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds last night.
The defending World Series champions have won 11 of 14 and led the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing at home later against San Francisco, by 2 ½ games. The Cardinals have two games to go, the Dodgers three.
Arroyo (12-10) threw 73 pitches while allowing three runs over five innings in a tuneup for the postseason. He topped 200 innings for the seventh time but is 0-3 in his last four starts.
The Reds are 96-64, tied with the Nationals for the best record in the National League with two games to go, and must finish ahead of Washington to get home-field advantage throughout the postseason after losing the season series.
Bulls give Thibodeau a 4-year extension
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls have given coach Tom Thibodeau a four-year contract extension through the 2016-17 season.
General manager Gar Forman announced the move yesterday. The Bulls had exercised the team's option for next season this past spring. The new deal takes effect after this season.
Thibodeau was the NBA's Coach of the Year for the 2010-11 season and the runner-up last season.
The Bulls headed into the season with star point guard Derrick Rose out until at least January as he recovers from left knee surgery.
RAMS-BACK TO WORK
Rams adjusting to short workweek
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Rams' adjustment to a short week has gone about as smoothly as they hoped.
They come off their 19-13 victory over Seattle on Sunday relatively healthy and get a second consecutive home game for their Thursday night matchup with Arizona.
Arizona (4-0) is one of three undefeated teams in the league, along with Atlanta and Houston.
With the workweek accelerated with no days off and less film work than normal, defensive end Chris Long said the Rams had already seemed to adjust well to the quick turnaround.
St. Louis hasn't been above .500 this deep in the season since 2006 when it was 4-1 after its fifth game en route to an 8-8 finish.
ILLINOIS-BIG TEN HONOR
Big Ten honors Illinois LB Monheim
PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AP) — There were very few Illinois highlights in Saturday's 35-7 loss to Penn State, but linebacker Mason Monheim's game earned him the Big Ten's freshman of the week award.
The conference yesterday made Monheim the first Illini this season to win any of the conference's weekly awards.
Monheim had a game-high 11 tackles against Penn State and forced a fumble. The Orville, Ohio, native is Illinois' third leading tackler this season with 28. That's No. 1 among Big Ten freshmen.
Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti's game-changing performance against Illinois (2-3, 0-1) earned him the defensive player of the week.
Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez were offensive players of the week. Nebraska kicker and punter Brett Maher was the special teams player of the week.
Illinois feeling familiar snowball headed downhill
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois coach Tim Beckman says the losses are starting to snowball.
The Illini (2-3, 0-1 Big Ten) have given up 132 points in its three losses. Their once-solid defense has been scorched in back-to-back losses to Penn State and Louisiana Tech.
And it doesn't get easier. Illinois travels this week to Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1).
Illinois had a six-game losing streak last year that cost coach Ron Zook his job. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (SHEEL'-hows) says that run taught him the team has to stick together.