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Associated Press

Posted on September 28, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Updated Saturday, Sep 28 at 7:05 AM

MLB-SCHEDULE

Bucs beat Reds...Rays sputter

UNDATED (AP) — Baseball's last division title race has been decided in St. Louis.

The Cardinals are the National League Central champions for the first time in four years following a 7-0 rout of the Chicago Cubs. Lance Lynn was terrific over six innings, scattering four hits and striking out nine to become the third Cards pitcher with at least 15 wins.

Yadier Molina (YAH'-dee-ehr moh-LEE'-nuh) drove in three runs for the Redbirds, who also got solo homers from David Freese (freez) and Matt Holliday.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have scored a big 4-1 victory in Cincinnati as they try to secure home-field advantage for a potential one-game wild-card playoff.

AJ Burnett pitched the Bucs to victory by limiting the Reds to one run and five hits in eight innings. Burnett blanked the Reds after Todd Frazier homered in the fourth.

Marlon Byrd had three of the Pirates' six hits, including a two-run single that put Pittsburgh ahead to stay. Pedro Alvarez added a two-run homer for the Pirates, who lead the Reds by two games for the first NL wild-card berth with two games remaining.

Tampa Bay's march toward securing an American League wild-card berth was slowed by a 6-3 loss in Toronto. Ben Zobrist and Delmon Young hit solo homers off winning pitcher R.A. Dickey, who allowed just three other hits in seven innings. The Rays committed a season-high three errors that led to three unearned runs as they ended a seven-game winning streak.

Tampa Bay is now tied with Cleveland for the league's two-wild-card berths, with Texas just one game back.

Drew Stubbs hit a two-run homer and three other Indians had two RBIs in a 12-6 romp over the Twins in Minnesota. Jason Kipnis had three of Cleveland's 17 hits and drove in two runs as the Indians earned their eighth straight win.

Texas was in a 3-3 tie with the Angels until Alex Rios and A.J. Pierzynski hit RBI singles in the seventh inning to lift the Rangers past Los Angeles 5-3. Rios and Pierzynski each had two RBIs as the Rangers won their fifth in a row.

Also in the majors, Kris Medlen allowed two hits over eight innings of Atlanta's 1-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies. Chris Johnson homered in the eighth to back Medlen, who's 14-6 with a 2.92 ERA since opening the season 1-6.

Daniel Nava belted a three-run homer while Boston was putting together a five-run first in a 12-3 drubbing of Baltimore. David Ortiz and Stephen Drew also had three RBIs to back Clay Buchholz, who improved to 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA by allowing three runs in seven innings.

Carl Crawford hit a three-run homer, A.J. Ellis smacked a two-run shot and Adrian Gonzalez added a solo blast as the Dodgers hammered Colorado 11-0. Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw ends his regular season 16-9 with a major league-best 1.84 ERA after yielding just four hits while fanning eight in six innings.

Brandon Moss ripped a three-run homer and Bartolo Colon picked up his 18th victory in Oakland's 8-2 trouncing of Seattle. Derek Norris added a two-run homer and three RBIs for the AL West champs.

Washington was an 8-4 winner at Arizona behind three-run homers by Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos (RAH'-mohs). Stephen Strasburg gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings to get the win.

Homers by Juan Perez, Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence powered San Francisco past San Diego 7-3. Winning pitcher Ryan Vogelsong was reached for two runs and five hits in six innings.

Miami rode Giancarlo Stanton's third-inning, three-run double to a 3-2 win over Detroit. The outcome damages the Tigers' hopes of gaining home-field advantage in the AL division series.

James Shields struck out 10 while allowing a run and four hits in seven innings Kansas City's 6-1 verdict over the Chicago White Sox. Billy Butler had three hits and two RBIs as the Royals handed the White Sox their 98th loss, fifth-most in team history.

Adam Warren worked five shutout innings and David Adams hit a two-run double as the New York Yankees blanked Houston 3-2.

Norichika Aoki (nohr-ih-CHEE'-kah ah-OH'-kee) and Khris Davis homered to give Milwaukee a 3-0 lead in the first inning of a 4-2 win over the New York Mets. Yovani Gallardo (yoh-VAH'-nee gy-AHR'-doh) held the Mets to two runs and seven hits in six innings.

MLB

Wedge leaving M's...Rangers-Angels game moved up...Peralta returns...Craig to miss LDS

UNDATED (AP) — The Seattle Mariners will have a new manager next season.

Eric Wedge has told the team he won't be back next year, ending a three-year run with the team. Wedge complained this week that he felt he was left "hanging out there" by the organization on his status for 2014.

The Mariners have finished last in the AL West each season under Wedge, who has a 212-271 mark with Seattle heading into the final weekend of the season.

The Mariners say Wedge will manage the final three games of the season against Oakland.

Also in the majors, former All-Star reliever Chris Perez has lost his job as the Cleveland Indians' closer. Perez has 25 saves in 30 chances but has posted a 7.52 ERA since Aug. 1, raising his season average to 4.33.

Manager Terry Francona said he hasn't ruled out a return to closing in the playoffs, if the Indians make it to the postseason.

Saturday's Texas Rangers home game has been moved up to try and miss a rainy evening. The starting time has been changed to 12:05 p.m. Eastern, which would be the earliest start ever at Rangers Ballpark. The game had been scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Jhonny Peralta (JAH'-nee peh-RAHL'-tah) has returned from a 50-game suspension and started in left field for the Detroit Tigers against the Miami Marlins, going 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Peralta was suspended for his involvement with the Miami-based Biogenesis lab. Normally a shortstop, Peralta started in the outfield for the first time in his major league career with Jose Iglesias playing short.

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig won't be available until at least the National League Championship Series should the team get that far. Craig has been sidelined since early this month because of a sprained foot that remains in a protective boot. He has 97 RBIs this season and owns a major league-leading .459 average with runners in scoring position.

The Braves are confident Brian McCann will be ready for the playoffs even though the catcher is not expected to start any of the team's final three regular-season games. McCann left last night's game against the Phillies with an adductor strain. Manager Fredi Gonzalez says the team's medical staff believes "we dodged a bullet" because the injury is not believed to be serious.

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has fired president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest after 12 years with the franchise. The move came as the Marlins neared the end of their third consecutive last-place season in the NL East.

Loria also fired Jim Fleming, who had been Beinfest's special assistant.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn expects manager Robin Ventura to return to the dugout in 2014, and he plans to give Paul Konerko some space while the slugger decides whether he wants to play next year. The White Sox are last in the AL Central at 62-97 heading into the season's final weekend.

Former Detroit Tigers outfielder Gates Brown has died at age 74. Jailed for armed robbery in Ohio before starting his baseball career, Brown played on Detroit's 1968 team that won the World Series, and was part of another title with the Tigers in 1984 as a batting coach. He ended up playing 1,051 games in his career spent entirely with the Tigers, finishing with a .257 average and 84 home runs.

NFL-VIKINGS

Ponder to miss game in London

LONDON (AP) — Christian Ponder won't be able to start against the Steelers on Sunday in London for Minnesota. The Vikings quarterback was injured in last week's loss to the Browns and will be replaced by Matt Cassel (KAS'-uhl).

Ponder sustained a rib injury last Sunday in a 31-27 loss to Cleveland.

The Vikings and Steelers are both 0-3.

NFL-INJURIES

Pryor practices

UNDATED (AP) — Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been approved for full contact in practice and took increased reps while splitting time with Matt Flynn at practice. Coach Dennis Allen said Pryor is making progress recovering from a concussion and did not rule out the possibility that he could start in Oakland's home game against Washington this week.

Pryor was injured after a helmet-to-helmet hit during Monday's loss to the Broncos.

Elsewhere;

— Right tackle Breno Giacomini and center Max Unger are both listed as doubtful for unbeaten Seattle when they take on Houston Sunday. Coach Pete Carroll said both would be game-time decisions but it looks unlikely either will be able to play. Giacomini has a knee problem while Unger is suffering from a triceps injury.

— Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin has been ruled out of Sunday's game at San Diego because of a hamstring injury. Austin has been slowed by hamstring issues the past two years.

— Buffalo starting cornerback Leodis McKelvin will be a game-time decision Sunday against Baltimore because of a hamstring injury. McKelvin was injured in Buffalo's loss last week to the New York Jets. If McKelvin is unable to play, safety Aaron Williams is expected to start at corner.

— Atlanta has listed cornerback Asante Samuel as questionable after adding him to the injury report with a sore thigh. The four-time Pro Bowl selection was limited in practice Friday for the first time this week. A similar thigh injury sidelined him at New Orleans three weeks ago.

— Lions No. 2 receiver Nate Burleson says he'll definitely play again this season after he broke his arm this week in a one-car accident. He says he was plugging in his phone and trying to prevent pizza boxes from falling off the front seat when he lost control of the car and hit a center median.

NBA-TIMBERWOLVES

Wolves lose Budinger

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota forward Chase Budinger needs surgery on his left knee and will be out indefinitely. Last season, Budinger played only 23 games because of a torn meniscus in his left knee yet still signed a three-year, $15 million contract this summer. Timberwolves president Flip Saunders says Budinger was given a clean bill of health when he signed the contract.

CHAMPIONS TOUR

Langer vaults to top

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Bernhard Langer is the leader through one round of the Champions Tour's First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Langer opened with a bogey-free 9-under 63, good for a four-shot cushion over five others.

NASCAR-AAA 400

Junior sets record, wins pole

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned a track record lap to win the pole for Sunday's Chase for the Cup race at Dover International Speedway.

Chase for the Sprint Cup championship drivers filled the top four spots and eight of the top 12, with points leader Matt Kenseth starting alongside Earnhardt on the front row. Ryan Newman is third and Carl Edwards fourth.

Kenseth has won the first two races and has a 14-point lead over Busch with Jimmie Johnson 18 back and Edwards 36 off the pace.

PGA TOUR-PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Woods wins again

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Despite the fact he failed to win a major, Tiger Woods has been voted PGA Tour player of the year. This marks the 11th time he has been so honored. The PGA Tour announced the results of player voting but does not release the percentage of votes or who finished second.

Jordan Spieth (speeth) won rookie of the year after starting the season with no status and finishing 10th on the PGA Tour money list.

Woods won five times this year. This is the third time he has won the award without having won a major.

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