No hitter on closing day
UNDATED (AP) — With all eyes in baseball on the American League wild card race, a four-game winner for the Miami Marlins took the spotlight as he tossed a no-hitter in a 1-0 win over the Tigers. Henderson Alvarez did not allow a base hit through nine innings and went to the bench hoping his team would get a run across the plate. The Marlins accomplished that when Giancarlo Stanton scored on a wild pitch by Detroit's Luke Putkonen.
Alvarez ends the season 5-6. In his final outing he struck out four, walked one and hit a batter. He joins Bumpus Jones of the Reds and two other pitchers who have tossed a no-hitter on the last day of the season. Jones by the way tossed the first last-day no-no in 1892.
By the way, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera finished with the best batting average in the American League, a .348 mark just a year after winning the Triple Crown.
The AL wild-card picture is half set as the Indians beat the Twins 5-1 to secure the top-seed. That means they will entertain either the Rays or Rangers in the wild card game on Wednesday. Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez (oo-BAHL'-doh hih-MEN'-ez) went 6 2/3 innings and struck out 13 to get the win. Nick Swisher got the Tribe on the board in the first with a two-run home run. The Indians end the season with 92 wins, 24 more than last year.
The Rays and Rangers are in a dead heat for the second AL wild-card berth, forcing a one-game playoff Monday night in Arlington, Texas. That game will decides who travels to Cleveland for Wednesday's wild-card game.
The Rays put together a six-run first and led 7-0 in the fourth before hanging on for a 7-6 win at Toronto. Jose Lobaton (LOH'-bah-tohn) hit a two-run double in the first to back Matt Moore, who ends the regular season 17-4 after allowing three runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Texas will enter the one-game playoff on a seven-game winning streak following a 6-2 win against the Los Angeles Angels. Geovany Soto hit a tiebreaking, RBI double in the sixth and added a solo homer to help the Rangers extend their season at least one more day.
Joe Kelly (10-5) pitched 5 1-3 innings of three-hit relief as St. Louis blanked the Cubs 4-0 to claim home field advantage throughout the National League playoffs.
Kansas City has completed a successful season with a 4-1 win over the White Sox. Bruce Chen pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning as the Royals finished 86-76, their best season in 24 years.
The Pirates ended the regular season the way they want to start the postseason, with a win over the Reds. Jordy Mercer had a triple and an inside-the-park homer as the Pirates completed a three-game sweep of the Reds with a 4-2 victory. They'll open the postseason on Tuesday night at PNC Park against Cincinnati in the Pirates' first playoff game in 21 years. The Reds dropped their last five games, matching their season high.
Evan Gattis had a two-run homer among his three hits, Elliot Johnson drove in five runs and the NL East champion Atlanta Braves beat the Phillies 12-5.
Sonny Gray threw five shutout innings and Oakland had a pair of four-run innings in a 9-0 shutout of Seattle.
Baltimore finished a 7-6 win over Boston without first baseman Chris Davis, who suffered a sprained left wrist in the fourth inning. Davis led the majors with 53 homers and 138 RBIs.
A.J. Pollock hit an infield single that broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning of Arizona's 3-2 win over Washington, ruining Davey Johnson's last game as manager of the Nationals.
San Francisco beat San Diego 7-6 on an RBI single by Hunter Pence in the bottom of the ninth. Pence had three RBIs just after the Giants announced his five-year, $90 million contract extension.
Colorado first baseman Todd Helton went 1-for-4 in his final major league game as the Rockies nipped the Dodgers 2-1. Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer won the NL batting crown with a .331 mark.
Eric Young Jr. won the National League stolen base crown by swiping two bags to help the Mets rally past Milwaukee 3-2.
And Houston set a major league record for strikeouts in a season while falling to the New York Yankees 5-1 in 14 innings.
Kemp to miss postseason
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp will miss the entire postseason because of swelling in a bone in his left ankle.
The team's postgame announcement came as a surprise because a few days ago Kemp had said he felt good.
Kemp missed 52 games over the last two months while on the disabled list because of the ankle.
Reds lose Latos
CINCINNATI (AP) — Reds right-hander Mat Latos (LAY'-tohs) has a bone chip in his elbow and will be unavailable for Cincinnati's wild-card playoff game Tuesday in Pittsburgh. The Reds are hopeful that with a couple of days of treatment, the elbow will improve enough that he'll be available if the Reds win the one-game playoff and advance to the division series.
Johnny Cueto (KWAY'-toh), who has been on the disabled list three times this season with shoulder problems, will start the wild-card game for the Reds.
UNDATED (AP) — It turns out the Pittsburgh Steelers can't win outside the United States, either. The Steelers are off to their first 0-4 start in 45 years following a 34-27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in London.
Greg Jennings had two touchdown catches, Adrian Peterson ran for two scores and the Vikings' defense made a big stop with time running out to get the win, their first of the year. Everson Griffen stripped Ben Roethlisberger (RAWTH'-lihs-bur-gur) on the 6-yard line with 19 seconds left. Kevin Williams recovered to seal the victory.
The Philadelphia Eagles are the latest team to be shredded by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Manning completed 28 of 34 passes for 327 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions as the Broncos crushed the Eagles 52-20 to improve to 4-0. Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker each grabbed two scoring strikes from Manning, who's thrown 16 touchdown passes this season without an interception to tie the start of Cleveland's Milt Plum during the 1960 campaign. Welker has caught six of those TD tosses.
Manning also broke Brett Favre's NFL record with his 24th career game of at least four touchdown passes.
Michael Vick threw for 248 yards and no touchdowns for the Eagles, who've dropped three straight since an impressive season-opening win at Washington.
The Giants dropped to 0-4 with a 24-7 loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City. Alex Smith threw three touchdown passes, Dexter McCluster returned a punt 89 yards for another score and the Chiefs upped their record to 4-0. Smith hit touchdown passes of 4, 2 and 35 yards for the Chiefs, who under Andy Reid have already doubled their victory total of 2012. The Giant trailed only 17-7 after three quarters before falling to 0-4 for the first time since 1987.
The Bears and Lions are tied for first in the NFC North with a record of 3-1 following Detroit's 40-32 triumph against Chicago. Reggie Bush had 173 yards of total offense, including a 37-yard touchdown run that helped Detroit score 27 points in the second quarter. The Lions scored 24 straight points, including three TDs in a span of 3 minutes, 26 seconds after Matt Forte's 53-yard TD run gave the Bears 10-6 lead early in the second quarter. Jay Cutler had four turnovers but threw a pair of touchdown passes and 2-point conversions in the final 4 minutes to pull Chicago within eight points to make the score look respectable.
Brian Hoyer is 2-0 as Cleveland's starting quarterback. The Browns beat the Bengals 17-6 as Hoyer threw two touchdown passes in his first start at home. His 1-yard TD pass to Chris Ogbonnaya (oh-bon-EYE'-uh) with 4:54 left gave the 2-2 Browns an 11-point lead before Cleveland turned it over to its vastly improved defense. Hoyer finished 25 of 38 for 269 yards In his second start in place of injured Brandon Weeden.
Carson Palmer threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald and Jay Feely kicked a 27-yard field goal with 1:29 remaining as the Arizona Cardinals rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10. The Cards are now 2-2 while the Bucs are winless in four games. Feely also kicked a 42-yard field goal for the Cardinals, who trailed 10-0 at halftime.
Steven Hauschka kicked a 45-yard field goal in overtime to give the Seattle Seahawks a 23-20 win over the Houston Texans and the first 4-0 start in franchise history. The 2-2 Texans failed to score on two possessions in overtime. The Seahawks got the win on their second drive in overtime after rallying from a 20-3 deficit. Richard Sherman returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown that tied the game 20-20 with less than three minutes remaining in regulation.
Bills rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso's second interception of the game with 57 seconds remaining sealed a 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Each team is 2-2 on the year. Converted safety Aaron Williams also intercepted Joe Flacco (FLAK'-oh) twice, while Fred Jackson had 87 yards rushing and a touchdown for Buffalo. Flacco threw a career-worst five interceptions, and finished 25 of 50 for 347 yards passing with two touchdowns.
Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes, Trent Richardson ran for a score and the Colts beat up on Jacksonville, 37-3. The 3-1 Colts were a little sluggish and sloppy in the first half but still lead after 30 minutes, 20-3. The 0-4 Jaguars have been outscored 75-8 in the first half this season.
Philip Rivers was productive in San Diego's 30-21 comeback win over Dallas, completing 35 of 42 for 401 yards and three touchdowns. Antonio Gates had 10 receptions for 136 yards, including a 56-yard TD grab with 6:65 left.
Tony Romo passed for 244 yards and a pair of second-quarter touchdowns, both to Dez Bryant. But the Cowboys failed to score after Sean Lee's 52-yard interception return for a touchdown just before halftime.
Tennessee turned Geno Smith's four turnovers into 28 points in a 38-13 romp over the New York Jets. Jake Locker threw a career-high three touchdown passes before suffering a right hip injury in the third quarter, sending him to a hospital.
Alterraun Verner intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble, and Ropati Pitoitua had two of Tennessee's five sacks as the Titans improved to 3-1.
The Redskins finally picked up their first win as Robert Griffin III threw for 227 yards and one touchdown in a 24-14 win at Oakland. Washington scored the game's final 24 points and went ahead on Griffin's five-yard pass to Pierre Garcon with 2:58 left in the third quarter.
Former Steelers great dies
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end L.C. Greenwood, who won four Super Bowls as a member of the "Steel Curtain" defense, has died at age 67. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office says Greenwood died from undisclosed causes.
Greenwood was a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro during his career from 1969-1981 and was honored on the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1970s.
Trojans fired Kiffin
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lane Kiffin has been fired as football coach at Southern California. The dismissal came just hours after the Trojans dropped to 0-2 in conference play after a 62-41 loss at Arizona State.
The Trojans posted a short news release to the athletic department website, saying that athletic director Pat Haden informed Kiffin of the decision "upon the team charter's arrival back in Los Angeles" after the defeat.
Kiffin went 28-15 at USC in parts of four seasons, but his team is 0-2 in conference play for the first time since 2001.
Alabama stays on top as the Irish fall out
UNDATED (AP) — Notre Dame has dropped out of The Associated Press college football poll after losing its second game of the season, and Arizona State moved in after the Sun Devils' win prompted Southern California to fire coach Lane Kiffin.
Alabama remained No. 1 as the top five held their spots for the third consecutive week. The Crimson Tide received 55 of 60 first-place votes, with No. 2 Oregon getting the rest from the media panel. Clemson is third, followed by Ohio State and Stanford.
League could change finals format
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA Finals could return to a 2-2-1-1-1 format.
The league's Competition Committee has voted unanimously to recommend the change from the current 2-3-2 system. Owners will vote on it next month at their meetings.
If approved, it hasn't been decided if the change would begin with the 2014 finals.
New deal for the coach
MIAMI (AP) — Erik Spoelstra (SPOHL'-struh) has signed a multiyear extension to remain as coach of the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat.
He had one season remaining on his existing contract, a deal that the sides agreed to in 2011.
Spoelstra is 260-134 in his first five seasons with Miami, going to the playoffs in each of those years, the NBA finals in each of the last three and winning the title in 2012 and 2013.
Johnson wins at Dover, again
DOVER, Del. (AP) — Jimmie Johnson held off teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. down the stretch to win the Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway. The win is Johnson's record eighth at the track, topping the mark he shared with Bobby Allison and Richard Petty.
Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five.
Matt Kenseth kept his points lead even as he fell short in trying to become the first driver to win the first three Chase races in a season. Kenseth is eight points ahead of Johnson and 12 better than teammate Kyle Busch.
New deal for Hansen
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Forward Jannik Hansen and the Vancouver Canucks have agreed to a four-year contract extension. The 27-year-old had 10 goals and 17 assists in 47 games for Vancouver last season. In 318 career games, all with Vancouver, Hansen has 50 goals and 81 assists.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Kirk Triplett successfully defended his First Tee Open title Sunday at Pebble Beach, closing with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over Doug Garwood and Dan Forsman.
Triplett opened the round three shots behind leader Tom Lehman (LAY'-mihn) before finishing 11-under for the tournament.