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Gordon Wins Final Race of “Challenger Round”

Gordon Wins Final Race of “Challenger Round”

Geoff Burke/Getty Images(DOVER, Del.) -- Jeff Gordon led the final 71 laps of the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway, cementing his spot in the next round of the NASCAR's 10-race "Chase for the Sprint Cup". It was Gordon's fifth win at The Monster Mile, and his first since winning his last series crown in 2001.

"I think it makes a statement of what type of team we are," Gordon said. "I think that it makes a statement that we're a team to beat for this championship."

Although he didn't need the win to advance, Gordon joined Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano as winners through the first round of NASCAR's new playoff format which eliminates four drivers after every third race. At the conclusion of the race at Dover, Kurt Busch, AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle, and Aric Amirola were knocked from championship contention.

Kevin Harvick led 223 laps but poor tire management left him with a 13th place finish. Keselowski took second while Jimmie Johnson, Logano and Matt Kenseth finished out the top five. The points will now reset for the "Contender Round" which features races at Kansas, Charlotte, and Talladega.

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MLB Postseason Matchups Set

MLB Postseason Matchups Set

Zoonar/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It took all 162 games, but the Major League postseason was decided on Sunday as the top 10 teams found out where and when their next games will be. Both the American League and National League Central division titles were also won on Sunday while the final AL Wild Card spot was decided.

David Price tossed seven and one-third innings of shutout baseball, giving up four hits and striking out eight, to give the Detroit Tigers the AL Central crown for the fourth straight year. Ian Kinsler drove in a pair of runs in the 3-0 victory while Joe Nathan picked up his 35th save of the season. The Tigers will travel to AL East Champion Baltimore to begin best-of-five divisional series against the Orioles on Thursday.

The Tigers' victory means that Kansas City's first postseason appearance in 29 years will come in the Wild Card round. The Royals will host the Oakland Athletics, who eliminated the Seattle Mariners with a 4-0 win over the Texas Rangers Sunday, in a one-game "play-in" on Tuesday night. The winner of that contest will then travel to Los Angeles to battle the Angels in the divisional round, beginning Thursday.

In the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 after they were already crowned Central division champs. Pittsburgh's 4-1 loss relegated the Pirates to the Wild Card round where they will host the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday. Whoever advances will then visit the Washington Nationals, winner of the NL East, in the divisional series on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals begin their defense of the NL Pennant on Friday when they travel to NL West champion Los Angeles to battle with the Dodgers.

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Jeter Ends Career with RBI Single

Jeter Ends Career with RBI Single

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- At Fenway Park, the home of the Yankees' archrivals the Boston Red Sox, Derek Jeter received a standing ovation after recording the final hit of his 20 year career. The New York Yankees shortstop singled home a run in the top of the third before being lifted for a pinch-runner.  

The base hit was the 3,465th of his career, sixth most all-time, and gave New York a 3-0 lead en route to a 9-5 win. The 40-year-old removed himself from the game, being replaced by Brian McCann at first base. 

"I had a blast," said Jeter, who made his Major League debut in 1996, winning the AL Rookie of the Year. "Listen, I had an opportunity to do what I wanted to do, the only thing that I ever wanted to do. I know that not a lot of people can say that. I've been fortunate. I've had fun. There is not a thing I would change."

Prior to the game, a ceremony honoring Jeter featured multiple Boston sports icons who could also call themselves "Captain" -- former Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski, New England Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown, Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr, current Washington Wizard and former Celtics guard Paul Pierce all paid tribute to the 14-time All-Star.

The Red Sox also donated $22,222.22 to Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation. Almost $600,000 in charitable donations were given to his foundation throughout the course of the season.

Despite not reaching the postseason in his final year, Jeter was a member of five World Series championship teams and is the Yankees all-time leader in hits, stolen bases, singles, and doubles.

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Demetrious Johnson Maintains UFC Belt

Demetrious Johnson Maintains UFC Belt

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- For the fifth time in his career, Demetrious Johnson successfully defended his UFC flyweight title at UFC 178 on Saturday night. Johnson submitted Chris Cariaso in the second round to improve to 21-2-1 in the mixed martial arts career.

The fighter known as "Mighty Mouse" was in cruise control from the start, scoring multiple takedowns in the first round. Johnson controlled the tempo throughout and landed an overhand right, coupled with a left knee to the chin, that dazed Cariaso (17-6) as time expired.

In the second round, Johnson immediately scored a double-leg takedown and worked to side control. After securing an arm bar, the 28-year-old switched to a kimura and finished the fight at 2:29 of the second round. It was the eighth submission of his career and improved Johnson to 6-0-1 since dropping to the 125-pound weight class.

Donald Cerrone (25-6) also picked up a win at UFC 178 by defeating Eddie Alvarez (25-4) by unanimous decision, while Conor McGregor (16-2) earned a knockout victory over Dustin Porier (16-4) in the first round.

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(6) Texas A&M Needs Overtime to Beat Arkansas

(6) Texas A&M Needs Overtime to Beat Arkansas

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Texas) -- With Johnny Manziel on the sidelines, (6) Texas A&M's Kenny Hill used a little "Johnny Football" magic to help the Aggies avoid a monumental upset on Saturday. Texas A&M (5-0) rallied from a 28-14 deficit to beat Arkansas 35-28 in overtime at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys.

Hill threw for 386 yards and four touchdowns in the win, leading a fourth quarter comeback that included two 50-plus yard scoring passes. His first was an 86-yard strike to Edward Pope just three minutes into the final frame. Hill then found Josh Reynolds for a 59-yard touchdown pass, knotting the game at 28-28 with 2:08 to play in regulation.

The Aggies had a chance to win the game in regulation, but let the clock run out when facing fourth down at midfield. They took their shot early in the extra session, scoring on the first play as Hill found Malcome Kennedy for a 25-yard score.

That forced Arkansas (3-2) to go for it on fourth-and-one to keep the game alive, but a defensive stand by Texas A&M sealed the victory. It was the 14th straight conference loss for the Razorbacks who did not score in the final 20:02 of regulation.

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Lucroy Sets Record in Brewers Win

Lucroy Sets Record in Brewers Win

Milwaukee Brewers/ML​B(MILWAUKEE) -- With an RBI double in the bottom of the fifth, Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy set the Major League record for doubles by a catcher in a single season with 46. It also gave the Brewers (82-79) a 2-1 lead over the Chicago Cubs (72-89), a score they would later go on to win by.

The record was previously held by Texas' Ivan Rodriguez who recorded 45 doubles in 1996. Lucroy has hit a total of 53 doubles this season with seven of them coming as a first baseman. The All-Star's RBI hit also guaranteed Milwaukee of a winning season.

Wily Peralta (17-11) struck out 13 batters, a career high, in seven innings to pick up the win. Closer Francisco Rodriguez moved into the top-10 all-time in saves, picking up the 348th in his career.

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Missouri Upsets (13) South Carolina on the Road

Missouri Upsets (13) South Carolina on the Road

Banana Stock/Getty Images(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- One week after losing a game in the waning moments, the Missouri Tigers used a late drive to knock off No. 13 South Carolina on Saturday. The Tigers (4-1) trailed 20-7 in the fourth but scored twice in the final seven minutes to complete the upset.

"When things got tough, we stayed positive. The defense kept us in it but we stayed totally positive with the offense the whole time," said head coach Gary Pinkel.

After Russell Hansbrough scored in the first quarter to give Missouri a 7-0 lead, the Gamecocks (3-2) held their opponnent of the board until the fourth. Meanwhile, South Carolina reeled off 20 straight points to take a commanding lead late. 

Pharoh Cooper caught a 23-yard pass from Dylan Thompson to give the Gamecocks a 13-point lead with 7:25 remaining. Just 36 seconds later, Maty Mauk and the Tigers completed their first scoring drive of the rally with a Hansbrough one-yard touchdown run. Missouri got the ball back and again watched as Hansbrough bullied his way into the endzone for the go-ahead score.

The running back finished the game with three rushing touchdowns, carrying the ball just 10 times for 43 yards.

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Nationals, Angels Clinch Home-Field Advantage

Nationals, Angels Clinch Home-Field Advantage

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With just two days remaining in the regular season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Washington Nationals each clinched home-field advantage through the playoffs in their respective leagues on Friday.

For the Nationals (94-66), their double header split with the Miami Marlins earned them the top seed in the National League. Washington got a complete game from Doug Fister in Game One, winning it 4-0 to wrap up home-field until the World Series. Fister allowed just three hits while striking out nine in the win. Miami (77-83) went on to win the nightcap 15-7 in a meaningless game for the Nationals.

The Angels (98-62) could clinch the top seed in the American League with a win over Seattle, but the Mariners hit three home runs and picked up a 4-3 victory. Los Angeles did get home-field advantage however due to Baltimore's 4-2 loss in Toronto. Leading 4-0 after five innings, the Mariners (85-75) held off a late charge from LA to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Seattle sits two games back of Oakland for the second wild card spot.

This is the second time in three seasons that Washington has the top record in the NL while the Angels clinched the top spot in the AL for the first time since 2008. The American League has home-field advantage in the World Series thanks to a 5-3 win in the All-Star Game.

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Bobby Abreu Announces Retirement

Bobby Abreu Announces Retirement

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Before taking the field with the New York Mets, outfielder Bobby Abreu announced his retirement from Major League Baseball on Friday. 

"I have a lot of fun," Abreu said. "These young guys here are special. Even though I'm 40, they made me feel young. But I realize now that the game is for the next generation."

The 18-year veteran made his debut in 1996 for the Houston Astros, managed by Terry Collins. His career will come to an end on Sunday, with Collins as his new manager, against the Astros at Citi Field. Adding to the symmetry of his career, Abreu's first ever hit came against Bobby Jones of the Mets. 

Since then, the 40-year-old has tallied 2,469 total hits, ranking 10th all-time. Of all active players, only Derek Jeter has played more games than Abreu's 2,423 contests. Abreu was a two-time All-Star and the active leader in career walks (1,475) and doubles (574).

"For sure, Bobby Abreu will be able to walk off the field with his head held high Sunday," manager Terry Collins said.

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Jeff Taylor Put On Leave By Hornets

Jeff Taylor Put On Leave By Hornets

Jed Jacobson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Charlotte Hornets announced on Friday that they have placed Jeffery Taylor on leave while the NBA investigates his arrest on domestic violence charges. A third-year forward, Taylor will not be allowed to participate in team activities during the investigation.

"We have informed Jeffery Taylor that effective immediately he will not be participating in any team-related activities while the NBA is investigating his conduct in this matter," the team said in a statement. "As an organization, we understand and appreciate the seriousness of this matter, and will assist the NBA and law enforcement in any way we can until this comes to an acceptable resolution."

Taylor was charged with one count of domestic assault, one count of assault and one count of malicious destruction of property on Thursday by East Lansing police, stemming from an incident at the East Lansing Marriott. A prosecutor said the police report will not be released during the investigation.

The 25-year-old is originally from Sweden but resides in North Carolina.

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Royals Clinch First Postseason Berth Since 1985

Royals Clinch First Postseason Berth Since 1985

Zoonar/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- For the first time in 29 years, the Kansas City Royals are heading to the playoffs. Kansas City clinched their first postseason berth since 1985 with a 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night, ending the longest playoff drought in any of the four major North American sports.

Jeremy Guthrie (13-11) tossed seven scoreless innings for the Royals (88-72), who scored three times in the first inning. Norichika Aoki tripled, scoring Alcides Escobar, while a pair of RBI singles from Lorenzo Cain and Billy Butler added to the advantage.

It the White Sox (72-88) until the eighth inning before finally scoring, getting an RBI single from Alexei Ramirez. In the bottom of the ninth, Greg Holland retired the side in order, getting Michael Taylor to pop up to secure the win. The last time Kansas City was in the postseason, George Brett led the squad to a World Series title over the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Royals are still in contention for the AL Central division crown. The Detroit Tigers sit just one game ahead in the standings with two contests left in the regular season.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 9/26/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 9/26/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- MLB: Washington Nationals 4 (94-65) - Miami Marlins 0 (76-83) - Game 1

Miami Marlins 15 (77-83) - Washington Nationals 7 (94-66) - Game 2

Cleveland Indians 1 (84-76) - Tampa Bay Rays 0 (76-84)

Philadelphia Phillies 5 (73-87) - Atlanta Braves 4 (77-83)

Toronto Blue Jays 4 (82-78) - Baltimore Orioles 2 (95-65)

Pittsburgh Pirates 3 (88-72) - Cincinnati Reds 1 (74-86)

Houston Astros 3 (70-90) - New York Mets 1 (77-83)

Minnesota Twins 11 (69-91) - Detroit Tigers 4 (89-71)

New York Yankees 3 (83-77) - Boston Red Sox 2 (70-90)

Kansas City Royals 3 (88-72) - Chicago White Sox 1 (72-88) 

Oakland Athletics 6 (87-73) - Texas Rangers 2 (66-94)

Chicago Cubs 6 (72-88) - Milwaukee Brewers 4 (81-79) 

Seattle Mariners 4 (85-75) - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 3 (98-62)

San Diego Padres 4 (77-83) - San Francisco Giants 1 (86-74)

St. Louis Cardinals 7 (89-71) - Arizona Diamondbacks 6 (63-97)

Los Angeles Dodgers 7 (92-68) - Colorado Rockies 4 (66-94)

 

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Jeter Ends Career at Yankee Stadium in Dramatic Fashion

Jeter Ends Career at Yankee Stadium in Dramatic Fashion

Elsa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- No one was sure when Derek Jeter should be taken off the Yankee Stadium field for the last time, so Jeter handled the issue himself. Jeter hit a walk-off RBI single to give the New York Yankees a 6-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles in his final game in pinstripes Thursday.

It looked like Jeter's night was going to end earlier. The Yankees went into the ninth inning with a three run lead, but Adam Jones hit a two-run homer and Steve Pearce tied the game with a solo blast, allowing Jeter the opportunity for one last at-bat.

Rookie Jose Pirela opened up the bottom of the inning with a single and was lifted for pinch-runner Antoan Richardson, who advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Brett Gardner. Jeter then came up and swung at the first pitch, lining it into right field and giving Richardson just enough time to score the winning run.After celebrating with his teammates, Jeter shared pleasantries with former teammates Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez and ex-manager Joe Torre. While Jeter's career at Yankee Stadium is over, his time in the major leagues isn't. Jeter and the Yankees finish out their season with three games against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

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Suns Agree to 5-Year Deal with Eric Bledsoe

Suns Agree to 5-Year Deal with Eric Bledsoe

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Phoenix Suns have agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal with restricted free-agent guard Eric Bledsoe. The deal comes after an offseason that was filled with rumors of Bledsoe leaving Phoenix. In the end, he gets the largest restricted free-agent contract this offseason. Bledsoe only played in 43 games last season because of a torn meniscus. When he was in the lineup, the Suns were noticeably better, going 28-15 compared to 20-19 without him. The 24-year-old finished the 2013-14 season averaging 17.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.6 steals.

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Tannehill Dislikes How Philbin Handled Quarterback Question

Tannehill Dislikes How Philbin Handled Quarterback Question

Leon Halip/Getty Images(DAVIE, Fla.) -- Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill isn't a fan of the way his head coach didn't declare him the starter for Sunday's game against the Raiders. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was asked multiple times this week if Tannehill would be the starting quarterback on Sunday, but the third-year head coach declined to respond. "Obviously, it doesn't feel good," Tannehill said when talking about Philbin's lack of response. "It creates a bunch of stir (and) a bunch of distraction in the locker room -- mostly from the outside coming in and guys having to deal with the distraction of it. So it's not a good feeling." Tannehill has said he has since talked with Philbin and it appears the 26-year-old will start Sunday in London. This is Tannehill's third season with the Dolphins. During that time, he has made 35 starts going 16-19, while completing 59.1% of his passes.

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Stepan Out 4 to 6 Weeks with Broken Leg

Stepan Out 4 to 6 Weeks with Broken Leg

Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post(NEW YORK) -- New York Rangers center Derek Stepan is out four to six weeks after fracturing his left fibula during a conditioning drill Wednesday. Stepan was dealing with a previous leg injury that caused him to miss a scrimmage on Sunday and preseason game on Monday. He was then cleared to practice Wednesday but suffered a non-contact injury during a sprint. Stepan had three x-rays before getting hurt. "Everything looked normal and good to go," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneaul said. "Then he stepped on the ice and unfortunately got hurt." The 24-year-old Stepan played in 82 games for the Rangers last season, scoring 17 goals and dishing out a career-high 40 assists.

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Charlie Strong Continues to Clean House at Texas

Charlie Strong Continues to Clean House at Texas

Brian Bahr/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- University of Texas head coach Charlie Strong continued cleaning house Tuesday. Strong dismissed his ninth player of the season when he kicked junior offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle off the squad for violating team rules. Estelle has been suspended for the last three games after starting at left tackle in the team's season opener. This is not the first time Estelle has been suspended while at Texas. He wasn't allowed to play in the Alamo Bowl last season after being ruled academically ineligible. Estelle joins former starters Kendall Sanders and Joe Bergeron, as well as Leroy Scott, Chet Moss, Montrel Meander, Chevoski Collins, Deoundrei Davis and Jalen Overstreet, as players that have been dismissed from the team since March.

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Cary Williams Apologizes for Practice Comments

Cary Williams Apologizes for Practice Comments

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Cary Williams apologized Tuesday to his teammates and coach regarding remarks he made after Sunday's game about how the team practices.Williams blamed the Eagles sluggish starts in their first three contests on head coach Chip Kelly's up-tempo practices. "When you're a pro for seven years and you make a mistake, you understand you affected the welfare of everybody in this locker room, and you have to address those guys man to man and let them know that you're sorry," Williams said. "That's what I did."Williams and Kelly have since talked about the player's controversial comments. "I'm not telling you guys anything that Chip said to me personally," Williams said to the media. "We just had a great conversation, guys. We have a little bit more of an understanding. We understand where each other stand. We're able to agree on some things. That was that."

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Bucs OC Jeff Tedford Takes Indefinite Leave of Absence

Bucs OC Jeff Tedford Takes Indefinite Leave of Absence

iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team, the Bucs announced Tuesday. Tedford had a heart procedure performed in late August; since then he's been working with the team on a limited basis while recovering. Tedford was hired by new Bucs coach Lovie Smith in January. Before joining Tampa Bay, Tedford was the head coach at the University of California from 2002-12. The Buccaneers (0-3) declared that the offensive play-calling, which Tedford never did this season, will continue to be a collaborative effort among offensive coaches.

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Lions LB Tulloch Done for Season

Lions LB Tulloch Done for Season

Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(ALLEN PARK, Mich.) -- Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee Sunday in the Lions win over the Green Bay Packers. The injury occurred while Tulloch was celebrating a sack of quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first quarter. Tulloch stayed in the game for one more play before leaving the field for good. “Obviously he’s disappointed,” Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s been one of our fine team leaders, but obviously he’ll still be around helping our guys with a little instruction and things of that nature." The 29-year-old Tulloch has never missed a game since being drafted in 2006. Tulloch had 135 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and an interception last season for the Lions.

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