Los Angeles rallied for two eighth-inning runs off the Phillies bullpen, as J.A. Happ walked Andre Ethier to force in the deciding run, spoiling a vintage Pedro Martinez outing and evening the National League Championship Series in a 2-1 decision in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium. Martinez silenced the Dodgers' bats to just two hits in seven scoreless innings, striking out three and walking none. But Chan Ho Park (0-1) and the much-maligned Philadelphia bullpen -- with the aid of a Chase Utley error -- couldn't hang on to a one-run lead in the eighth, sending the series back to Philadelphia on Sunday tied at one game apiece. Hong-Chih Kuo (1-0) recorded the final two outs in the eighth behind a stellar start from Vicente Padilla, who allowed just one run, four hits and a walk while fanning six in 7 1/3 innings for the Dodgers. Jonathan Broxton retired the top of the Phillies' order in the ninth to record the save. Ryan Howard had half of Philadelphia's four hits, including a solo homer in the fourth to account for the defending World Series champions' only run. Padilla, a former Phillie, retired 11 of the final 13 hitters he faced, while Martinez, who started his career with the Dodgers in 1992, was brilliant in only his second start since September 19.
CC Sabathia threw eight brilliant innings and the Yankees took advantage of multiple Angels errors on the way to a 4-1 win in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. Sabathia (2-0) gave up only one run on four hits and a walk, while striking out seven for the Yankees, who swept the Twins in a Division Series matchup to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2004. Hideki Matsui went 2-for-3 and drove in a pair of runs, while Johnny Damon added two hits and scored twice for New York. Angels starter John Lackey (1-1) took the loss after allowing four runs on nine hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. However, only two of those runs were earned, as Los Angeles committed three errors, including one by Lackey himself. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Saturday back at Yankee Stadium, and it is expected to have more wet and cold weather. Friday's game was not interrupted by rain delays, though the game-time temperature was 45 degrees, forcing some players to wear balaclavas or hats with earflaps.
With the first BCS standings set to be released Sunday, Saturday's college football schedule features four games involving a pair of ranked teams and it all gets started in Dallas when Texas and Oklahoma renew the Red River Rivalry. Both teams will enter the Cotton Bowl with national rankings for the ninth time in the past 10 years, but the third-ranked and undefeated Longhorns are the higher-ranked squad for the first time in three years. The 20th-ranked Sooners are just 3-2 and probably out of the national title picture thanks to one-point losses to BYU and Miami, but can gain the upper hand in the Big 12 South with a win Saturday. Texas knocked off a top-ranked Oklahoma squad last year, 45-35, but the Sooners still won the division thanks to a controversial tiebreaking system and went on to capture the conference title. The Longhorns have won three of the last four meetings to gain a 58-40-5 lead in the all- time series.
There are no conference bragging rights on the line between Notre Dame and Southern California this Saturday in South Bend, but the yearly matchup between the high-profile programs is considered the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football. The Irish are back in the rankings at No. 25 thanks to three straight narrow victories and are looking for a signature win. After losing at Michigan, Notre Dame posted three-point wins against Michigan State and Purdue before claiming an overtime triumph against Washington in its last contest on October 3. The sixth-ranked Trojans can thank Washington for their lone loss, a 16-13 setback on September 19 in Seattle, but they've come back with a pair of dominant wins against Washington State and California before taking last week off. USC has won the last seven meetings, including a 38-3 blowout last year in Los Angeles and a 38-0 whitewash two years ago in the last matchup in front of Touchdown Jesus.
Control of the ACC Coastal Division is up for grabs Saturday when fourth- ranked Virginia Tech visits No. 19 Georgia Tech. The Hokies are 5-1 and have won five straight since a season-opening loss to Alabama, while the Yellow Jackets are also 5-1 and have won three straight since a September setback at Miami. Virginia Tech has won the last two meetings, including a 20-17 triumph last year in Blacksburg, and a win Saturday would give the Hokies a firm grasp on the division title with a victory over Miami already in the books.
The final ranked matchup on Saturday's schedule takes place in Tuscaloosa, as second-ranked Alabama welcomes No. 22 South Carolina to Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide moved ahead of Texas into the No. 2 slot in the latest media poll after a 22-3 win at Ole Miss last weekend, while South Carolina has won four straight since its lone loss on September 12 at Georgia. Alabama leads the all-time series, 11-2, and won the last matchup between the schools back in 2005.
Top-ranked Florida is also in action Saturday when Arkansas visits the Swamp. The Gators are coming off last week's 13-3 slugfest with LSU, while Arkansas handed Auburn its first loss last week with a 44-23 decision. The Razorbacks have won two straight after losses to Georgia and Alabama. Elsewhere in the top-10, No. 7 Ohio State visits Purdue and ninth-ranked Miami-Florida heads upstate to battle UCF.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was fined by the NFL for his helmet-to- helmet blow to Cincinnati wide receiver Chad Ochocinco during last week's home loss to the surprising Bengals. The incident occurred in the fourth quarter as Ochocinco meandered across the middle of the field. The forceful hit dislodged the receiver's helmet and resulted in an unnecessary roughness infraction. According to NFL.com, Lewis was fined a total of $25,000 for two separate incidents. In addition to the hit on Ochocinco, Lewis also kicked an opponent on a pass play.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin is listed as questionable for Sunday's home tilt against Baltimore. The rookie Harvin has been a key offensive piece this season for the 5-0 Vikings. He has 18 catches for 233 yards and two scores, while totaling 437 yards and a touchdown on 14 kick returns. However, Harvin has been battling a shoulder injury and was held out of practice Wednesday before taking limited reps on Thursday and Friday.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson both missed practice Friday and have been listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Green Bay. Stafford took limited snaps during Wednesday's practice, but did not participate on Thursday or Friday as he is still battling a right knee injury that forced him to sit out last Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, Johnson has sat out practice all week due to a knee injury.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are expecting to see All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu and running back Willie Parker on the field against the lowly Browns on Sunday. Polamalu was a full participant at practice for a third straight day on Friday and is likely to be in the lineup for the first time since spraining his left MCL in the Steelers' season-opener. Also expected to return to action is Parker, who was a full participant in practice throughout the week after missing the last two games with a toe injury. Both Polamalu and Parker are officially listed as probable on the injury report.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and running back Ahmad Bradshaw were both limited in practice on Friday. Manning, who has been hampered by a heel injury in his right foot sustained in a Week 4 victory over the Chiefs, was limited in practice all week. Bradshaw, who is also suffering from a foot injury, did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday and was limited on Friday. Both players are listed as probable for Sunday, when the Giants head to New Orleans to take on the Saints in a battle of unbeaten teams.
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love fractured the fifth metacarpal in his left hand during Minnesota's 94-90 loss to the Chicago Bulls in preseason action Friday. The injury occurred late in the third quarter when Love's non- shooting hand banged against teammate Oleksiy Pecherov's elbow during a rebound attempt following a foul shot. X-rays at the arena revealed the broken bone. A timetable has yet to be set for his return.
Three cities have officially submitted applications to the International Olympic Committee in an effort to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Munich, Germany; Annecy, France; and PyeongChang, South Korea became applicant cities and will now go through the process that will end with the IOC choosing a host in July 2011. Munich hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics, which was heralded for Mark Spitz's incredible swimming triumphs but also included the tragic Israeli hostage crisis. Should Munich win, it would become the first city to host a Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The last Winter Games in France took place in 1992 at Albertville, while PyeongChang will bid for a third time. Pyeongchang lost to Vancouver for the 2010 Games, falling short by a vote of 56-53, then finished second to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Olympics in a 51-47 decision.
The "Chase for the Sprint Cup" championship resumes Saturday with the NASCAR Banking 500 -- the fifth race in the chase. Current points leader Jimmie Johnson, the three-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion and last Sunday's race winner at California, has the pole. Johnson enters the 500-mile race with a 12-point advantage over Hendrick Motorsports teammate and closest competitor Mark Martin, who will start alongside Johnson on the front row. Kasey Kahne, a Chase driver, qualified third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart, another title contender. Saturday's race is scheduled to start just after 7:25 p.m. (et).
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were among the quarterfinal winners Friday at the Shanghai Masters. Nadal, the top seed and former world No. 1, was tied with former top-10 star Ivan Ljubicic 3-6, 6-3 when the big Croat retired from the bout. Ljubicic became the seventh player to retire because of injury or illness during a match this week, while two others -- Roger Federer and Andy Murray -- decided not to play to rest ailments, as the debate over the length of the ATP season will likely continue. The second-seeded Djokovic, coming off a win at Beijing last week, prevailed in three sets over France's Gilles Simon. The semifinals will pit Nadal against fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez and Djokovic against Russia's Nikolay Davydenko.