Update on the latest in sports:


Associated Press

Posted on September 5, 2013 at 2:00 AM

Updated Thursday, Sep 5 at 7:36 AM


Cards win marathon...A's batter Rangers...Red Sox tee off on Tigers

UNDATED (AP) — Matt Adams was the hero for the St. Louis Cardinals last night after beginning the game on the bench.

Adams belted a pair of extra-inning homers as the Cardinals outlasted the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 in 16 innings. He went deep in the 14th inning to give the Redbirds their first lead of the night, but the Reds extended the game on Zach Cozart's single. Adams' second drive of the game allowed the Cardinals to avoid a sweep and move within one game of Pittsburgh for the NL Central lead.

Adams entered the game after first baseman Allen Craig sprained his foot rounding the bag in the fourth inning.

Brandon Phillips hit a solo homer for the Reds, who remain 3 ½ games behind the division-leading Pirates.

The Bucs were unable to clinch their first winning season in 21 years. The Brewers reached Francisco Liriano for seven runs in just three innings of a 9-3 win over the Pirates in Milwaukee. Khris Davis hit a two-run homer and Aramis Ramirez went 2-for-3 with a two-run double and three runs scored to highlight Milwaukee's 13-hit attack.

The Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers share first place in the American League West once again after the A's took the rubber match of their three-game series.

Brandon Moss, Daric Barton and Coco Crisp each hit two-run homers and Josh Donaldson added a three-run drive as the A's ripped the Rangers 11-4. Two of those home runs came off Yu Darvish, who's lost consecutive starts for the first time all season after yielding five runs in as many innings.

Jarrod Parker extended his unbeaten streak to 18 straight starts, eclipsing Catfish Hunter's Oakland mark set from June 2-Sept. 3, 1973. Jarrod has a nine-game winning streak and is 11-6 overall after limiting the Rangers to two runs in six innings.

Boston destroyed the Detroit Tigers, crushing eight home runs in a 20-4 rout at Fenway Park. David Ortiz went 3-for-5 with two homers, four RBIs and three runs scored, while Will Middlebrooks was 3-for-5 with a homer and four ribbies.

The Red Sox turned it into a rout by scoring 15 runs from the sixth inning through the eighth.

Prince Fielder hit a two-run homer for the Tigers, who held a brief 3-2 lead before their lead in the AL Central was trimmed to 6 ½ games over Cleveland.

Boston's lead in the AL East remains 5 ½ games after second-place Tampa Bay beat the Angels 3-1. Rookie Wil Myers homered twice, including a two-run shot that put the Rays ahead 3-0 in the seventh inning. Jeremy Hellickson held Los Angeles to four hits over 5 1/3 shutout innings to outpitch Jered Weaver.

Also in the majors, Atlanta's magic number for clinching the NL East remains 10 after Dillon Gee allowed a run and four hits in seven innings to pitch the New York Mets past the Braves 5-2. Andrew Brown put the Mets ahead to stay with a two-run blast in the first inning, and Lucas Duda (DOO'-duh) went 3-for-5 with a solo shot to help New York avoid a three-game sweep.

The Dodgers' magic number for winning the NL West is stuck at 12 following a 7-5 loss at Colorado. Todd Helton hit a solo shot and Michael Cuddyer (kuh-DY'-ur) drove in two runs before the Rockies scored three times in the seventh to take a 7-2 lead. Newly-acquired infielder Michael Young was 3-for-4 with two RBIs for the Dodgers, who ended a six-game winning streak and saw their division lead cut to 12 ½ games over Arizona.

The Diamondbacks gave their fading postseason hopes a slight boost by rallying from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 in 10 innings. Willie Bloomquist ended the game with his third hit of the day, an RBI single that allowed the Diamondbacks to avoid a three-game sweep and pull within seven games of the Reds for the final NL wild-card berth.

Robinson Cano (kuh-NOH') was 3-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBIs as the New York Yankees won for the fifth time in six games, beating the Chicago White Sox 6-5 to complete a three-game sweep. Brett Gardner added a two-run triple to back CC Sabathia (suh-BATH'-ee-uh), who allowed three runs over 7 1/3 innings. The Yanks remain 2 ½ games behind the Rays for the final AL wild-card berth.

Ryan Raburn lined a two-run double while Cleveland was scoring four times in the first inning of a 6-4 triumph against Baltimore. The Indians' bullpen tossed 4 1/3 shutout innings of one-hit relief after Manny Machado ripped a three-run homer off starter Zach McAllister. The outcome keeps the Indians within 3 ½ games of Tampa Bay for the last AL wild-card berth and drops the Orioles four games back.

Seattle dealt the Royals a blow to their postseason chances as Kendrys Morales hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the ninth inning to lift the Mariners past Kansas City 6-4. The Royals remain 8 ½ games behind the AL Central-leading Tigers and are 5 ½ games out of a postseason berth.

Jordan Zimmermann has become the National League's first 16-game winner, improving to 16-8 by yielding two runs in seven innings of Washington's 3-2 comeback win at Philadelphia. Ryan Zimmerman tied it with a solo homer in the seventh, one inning before pinch-runner Jeff Kobernus stole third and scored the go-ahead run on an infield grounder.

Houston beat Minnesota 6-5 on Trevor Crowe's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. Crowe and Brandon Barnes each had two RBIs in the Astros' first win in six tries against the Twins.

Pablo Sandoval belted three homers while going 4-for-6 with six RBIs in San Francisco's 13-5 laugher against San Diego. Brandon Crawford began the Giants' assault with a solo homer in the third inning before Hunter Pence and Hector Sanchez added two-run shots in the fourth.

Donnie Murphy's two-run blast capped a four-run seventh as the Chicago Cubs outscored Miami 8-7. Starlin Castro, Dioner Navarro and Ryan Sweeney each added solo home runs for the Cubbies, who avoided a three-game sweep and prevented the Marlins from snaring their season-high fourth straight win.


Nadal, Gasquet, Azarenka and Pennetta advance

NEW YORK (AP) — Rafael Nadal (rah-fay-ehl nah-DAHL') remains unbeaten in hard-court matches this year after advancing to the U.S. Open semifinals.

The second-seeded Nadal made quick work of Tommy Robredo (roh-BREH'-doh), beating the 19th seed 6-love, 6-2, 6-2. Nadal is 20-0 on hard courts and two match victories away from his 13th major championship.

The Spaniard hasn't lost since the opening round at Wimbledon and has dropped just one set in this tournament: a first-set tiebreaker in the fourth round.

Nadal next faces eighth seed Richard Gasquet (gas-KAY'), who had been 1-8 all-time against fourth seed David Ferrer (dah-VEED' feh-REHR') before beating the Spaniard 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3.

Women's second seed Victoria Azarenka is the only 20-something to reach the U.S. Open semifinals.

Azarenka lost her first service game in both sets and still managed to post a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Daniela Hantuchova (han-too-KOH'-vah). Next up for Azarenka is unseeded Flavia Pennetta, who's a Grand Slam semifinalist for the first time after breezing through a 6-4, 6-1 win against 10th seed Roberta Vinci.

Azarenka and top seed Serena Williams are one match victory away from meeting in the finals. Azarenka is the only person to beat Williams twice this year, including a victory in the final of a U.S. Open tuneup tournament in Cincinnati last month.

Williams faces fifth seed Li Na (lee nah) in the semis.


Groups join to combat brain injuries

UNDATED (AP) — The NFL, Under Armour and GE have together issued a challenge for new engineering to help protect athletes from brain injury.

The group said Wednesday that it would award up to $10 million for new innovation and materials that could protect the brain from traumatic injury, as well as new tools for tracking head impacts in real time. It is the second of such challenges from the trio.

The move comes as the issue of concussions in football has taken center stage.

Meanwhile, three former college football players are suing the NCAA, saying it failed to educate them about the risks of concussions and did not do enough to prevent, diagnose and treat brain injuries. Chris Walker and Ben Martin, who played for Tennessee from 2007-2011, and Dan Ahern, who played for North Carolina State from 1972-76, filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Chattanooga, Tenn.


Rookie Smith, Manuel gets starts

UNDATED (AP) — The Jets are going with rookie Geno Smith at quarterback for the season opener with Tampa Bay on Sunday. The move was expected after veteran Mark Sanchez went down with a right shoulder injury in an exhibition game against the Giants on Aug. 24.

The Buffalo Bills are also going with a first-year quarterback, giving first-round draft pick EJ Manuel the start against New England Sunday. Manuel has been recovering from a left knee injury sustained in a 20-16 preseason win over Minnesota on Aug. 16. He missed two weeks before returning to practice on Sunday.

In other NFL news:

— Cornerback Champ Bailey won't play in the Denver Broncos' opener against Baltimore tonight because of a sprained left foot. He hasn't practiced since getting hurt in a preseason game at Seattle on Aug. 17. Denver will start Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in Bailey's place.

— Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley says quarterback Blaine Gabbert's availability for Sunday's season opener against Kansas City could be undetermined until game day. Gabbert broke his thumb during the Jags' second preseason game and was still limited in practice on Wednesday.

— Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has signed a six-year, $55.6 million contract extension. The deal includes $21 million guaranteed. The 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year was in the last year of a deal he signed in his first season.

— The Detroit Lions have acknowledged that rookie defensive lineman Ziggy Ansah is recovering from a concussion. The No. 5 overall pick in the draft was believed to have hurt his head after colliding with a teammate in practice Aug. 24.

— San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith and former Niners tight end Delanie Walker have been named in a lawsuit by a Northern California man who said he was shot during a party at Smith's house. The suit claims that Smith and Walker fired weapons illegally during a party at Smith's San Jose home on June 29, 2012.


NY tribe launching radio ad against Redskins

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's Oneida Indian Nation says it is launching a radio ad campaign pressing for the Washington Redskins to get rid of a nickname the tribe considers to be a racial slur.

The first ad is set to run on radio stations in Washington before the team hosts the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. In it, Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should "stand up to bigotry."

The ads launch as the Washington Redskins this year face a fresh barrage of criticism over their nickname. Team owner Dan Snyder has vowed to never change the name.

An NFL spokesman says the name is used in a respectful manner and the league respects "that reasonable people may have differing views."


Tour rookie Spieth makes US team

UNDATED (AP) — Fred Couples has used his captain's picks on the 20-year-old Jordan Spieth (SPEETH) and Webb Simpson to fill out his 12-man US Presidents Cup team. Spieth will be the youngest American to play in the Presidents Cup since it began in 1994.

Nick Price used his picks on rookies Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe and Marc Leishman of Australia as the International team tries to win for only the second time.

The matches are Oct. 3-6 at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.


New deal for defenseman

CHICAGO (AP) — Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (JAL'-mahr-suhn) has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Chicago Blackhawks. Hjalmarsson helped the Blackhawks win their second Stanley Cup in four years last season, recording five assists and a plus-10 plus/minus rating in 23 playoff games.


Gold medal winner looks to retire

BRUSSELS (AP) — Olympic champion Usain (yoo-SAYN') Bolt says he plans to retire from sprinting after the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Bolt says he thinks it will be a good time to retire, "on top" and after "dominating for so long."

After winning three golds recently at the world championships in Moscow, Bolt will run his final race this season in a 100 sprint this Friday.