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Cubs beat White Sox 8-3, inch closer to NL Central title

Cubs beat White Sox 8-3, inch closer to NL Central title

With every big swing, every defensive gem all over the infield, Javier Baez is making an argument for NL MVP. It's turning into quite a case. Baez homered and the Chicago Cubs took advantage of huge mistake by Ryan LaMarre, beating the crosstown White Sox 8-3 on Saturday night to increase their lead in the NL Central. Ben Zobrist added two hits and two RBIs as the Cubs moved 2½ games ahead of second-place Milwaukee. Coupled with the Brewers' 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh, the Cubs lowered their magic number for clinching their third straight division title to six. 'We got a long ways to go,' pitcher Jon Lester said when asked about the standings. 'I don't ever want to jump too far ahead on that one.' Lester (17-6) labored through five innings to move into a tie with Washington ace Max Scherzer for the NL lead in wins. The left-hander allowed three runs, two earned, and eight hits in his second straight victory. With the Cubs looking to hold off the hard-charging Brewers, Baez delivered once again. He hit a screaming liner for a two-run homer in the first and a run-scoring single in a three-run ninth. He has 34 homers and an NL-best 110 RBIs. 'I feel like I can slow down a little bit and let the game come back to me,' he said, 'and the pitchers, make them throw more strikes. That's what I've been doing and it's been working.' Tim Anderson connected for the White Sox, who lost for the fourth time in six games. Lucas Giolito (10-12) was charged with five runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings at Guaranteed Rate Field. Anderson's leadoff drive in the third tied it at 2 and made him the first shortstop in franchise history with at least 20 homers and 20 steals in a single season. But LaMarre's defensive miscue in the fifth helped the Cubs grab control. With one out and runners on first and second, Daniel Murphy hit a drive to left field. LaMarre broke in on the ball and it sailed over his head for an RBI double. Zobrist followed with a bouncer up the middle for a two-run single, giving the Cubs a 5-2 lead. 'Basically I didn't think he hit it as well as he did,' LaMarre said. 'So I took a couple steps in, lost it in the lights just for a split-second. When it came out, it still had a little bit of steam on it, so it was a misread, a mistake, and I feel terrible.' The White Sox got one back on Matt Davidson's RBI single in the bottom half of the inning. But Carl Edwards Jr., Jesse Chavez, Justin Wilson and Steve Cishek closed it out for the Cubs, combining for hitless relief after Lester departed. THEY GONE Anderson and White Sox manager Rick Renteria were ejected by umpire Joe West in the ninth after a hard slide by Baez into second helped break up a potential double play. Anderson also committed a throwing error, allowing Zobrist to score. Asked about West, Anderson responded: 'I don't have much to say about him. Everybody knows he's terrible. But I didn't say much. He threw me out. It's OK.' MAKING MOVES The Cubs selected Mike Freeman's contract from Triple-A Iowa to provide some infield depth after Addison Russell was placed on administrative leave Friday following fresh allegations of domestic violence from his ex-wife. Russell has said the allegations are 'completely false.' Freeman's wife, Caroline, is pregnant with their first child, a girl. She is due Oct. 1. 'She's been great with it all. Knew this was a possibility,' he said. 'I feel like I'm definitely more nervous about it than she was. She was excited for the opportunity and very gracious and very encouraging to me, which is a huge testament to her.' TRAINER'S ROOM Cubs: OF Kyle Schwarber (lower back) went 2 for 3 with a walk while serving as the designated hitter for the second straight day. Manager Joe Maddon said he isn't sure if Schwarber will be ready to play the field when the Cubs open a four-game series against Pittsburgh on Monday. White Sox: INF Leury García was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list. He had been sidelined by a strained left hamstring. ... It's unclear if 1B Jose Abreu will play again this season. Abreu was treated for a right thigh infection at a Cleveland hospital on Tuesday. 'We'll see how it goes in the next few days,' Renteria said. UP NEXT Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks (12-11, 3.58 ERA) and White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon (6-6, 3.30 ERA) pitch Sunday in the series finale. Hendricks is 3-1 with a 1.42 ERA in his last five starts. Rodon has struggled in September, going 0-3 with a 5.25 ERA in four outings. ___ Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

LEADING OFF: Happ gets playoff prep; Snell seeks 21st win

LEADING OFF: Happ gets playoff prep; Snell seeks 21st win

A look at what's happening around the majors on today: THE HAPPENING The Yankees know they'll be playing in the AL wild-card game on Oct. 3, and J.A. Happ on track to be their starter. New York clinched a wild-card berth with a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in 11 innings on Saturday. Happ, 6-0 with a 2.39 ERA for New York after he was acquired from Toronto, is scheduled to start Sunday against Boston and would be on normal rest next Friday at Boston and for the wild-card game. The left-hander allowed one run and two hits over six innings to win on Sept. 4 at Oakland, New York's probable wild-card opponent. ON A ROLL The Tampa Bay Rays will look to keep their faint postseason hopes alive behind streaking left-hander Blake Snell in their series finale against Toronto. Snell (20-5, 1.97 ERA) is 8-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his past eight starts, striking out 63 over 46 innings in that stretch. The Blue Jays will counter with lefty Ryan Borucki, who pitched eight shutout innings to beat Baltimore in his previous outing. The Rays would need a collapse by Oakland in the season's final week to earn a wild-card berth. If not, the A's would face the Yankees in the winner-take-all game. TWO'S ENOUGH The Cardinals shouldn't expect to need an offensive outburst to maintain their position in the NL wild-card race. Miles Mikolas (16-4, 3.01 ERA), who starts Sunday against San Francisco, is 16-0 when receiving two or more runs of support. St. Louis holds the second wild-card position behind the Milwaukee Brewers, with the Colorado Rockies chasing. LOOKING AHEAD Now that they've won their first NL East crown since 2013, the Atlanta Braves can start figuring out their postseason rotation. Mike Foltynewicz has been the Braves' most consistent starter and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in Saturday's division-clinching win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Kevin Gausman has been solid since coming over in a trade with Baltimore and could start Game 2 of the NL Division Series. Beyond that, the Braves have Anibal Sanchez (6-6, 3.01 ERA), Julio Teheran (16-9, 4.03) and Sean Newcomb (16-12, 4.04). Sanchez can begin stating his case on Sunday when he pitches against the Phillies and ace Aaron Nola. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

No. 5 Oklahoma escapes with 28-21 OT win over Army

No. 5 Oklahoma escapes with 28-21 OT win over Army

Oklahoma's College Football Playoff hopes were dangerously close to becoming bleak less than a month into the season. Kyler Murray threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb in overtime, and Parnell Motley intercepted Kelvin Hopkins' fourth-down pass to help the fifth-ranked Sooners escape with a 28-21 victory over Army on Saturday night. 'Our guys hung in there,' Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. 'They trusted that it was going to be a challenge. If there's a couple plays that game that you don't make, it's going to be a close game against them. Those couple plays that we had a chance to separate, we didn't do it.' Army had the ball for 44:41 and ran 87 plays to Oklahoma's 40. It was the third-fewest offensive plays for Oklahoma in school history and the fewest since running 38 against Colorado in 1960. Army coach Jeff Monken said the Black Knights would have gone for two and the win if they had scored a touchdown on their overtime possession. The Black Knights were 4 for 4 on fourth-down conversions until Motley's interception. Oklahoma's fans gave the Black Knights a standing ovation after the game. 'To be part of a football team, to come in here tonight and about pull off a victory against a great football program,' Monken said. 'I'm just incredibly proud to be part of this football team. I'm proud of our players, it's just a privilege to be part of a group of people who just care so much. It's fun to be part of something like that.' Kyler Murray passed for 165 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 71 yards and another score and Trey Sermon added 119 yards on 18 carries for Oklahoma. Kenneth Murray had a school-record 28 tackles and Curtis Bolton had 23 for the Sooners (4-0). Murray's total is a Football Bowl Subdivision record, though the NCAA only has kept track since 2000. Hopkins ran Army's triple-option offense to near perfection for most of the game. He ran for 102 yards and a touchdown while constantly fooling the Sooners with his ball handling, but he threw two critical late interceptions. 'This Army team, them boys were tough,' Bolton said. 'You can say what you want. It's a little outdated, the triple option. But at the end of the day, them boys are out there trying to win a football game. They did a good job. They played a hell of a football game. I'm glad we came out with the W.' Oklahoma led 21-14 at halftime after Army had 16-play, 75-yard touchdown drives on its first two possessions. Kyler Murray passed for 123 yards and two touchdows and ran for 40 yards and another score before the break. Hopkins ran for 55 yards in the first half, including a nifty 5-yard touchdown run. Army (2-2) ran 39 times for 183 yards in the first half and had the ball for 22:01 of the 30 minutes. Oklahoma only had the ball for 20 plays in the first half. Army picked off Kyler Murray's pass and made the Sooners pay. Andy Davidson scored from 3 yards out, and the Black Knights tied the game at 21 with 1:51 remaining in the third quarter. It was a 19-play, 85-yard drive that took 10:47 off the clock. Oklahoma drove to the Army 1, but the Black Knights got the stop on fourth-and-goal and took over with 12:23 to go. Army drove for the win, but Oklahoma's Mark Jackson pressured Hopkins, and defensive end Kenneth Mann caught a deflection to give the Sooners the ball at their 38-yard line. The Black Knights took 10:06 off the clock before turning the ball over. Kyler Murray ripped runs of 18 and 10 yards to get the Sooners into field-goal range. An option pitch to Sermon for 11 yards and an 8-yard run by Kyler Murray moved it even closer. The Sooners then took a knee to set up the field goal try, but Austin Seibert missed from 33 yards out as time expired to force overtime. THE TAKEAWAY Army: The Black Knights improved significantly from their first three games and should be confident against any team on their schedule. Their offensive execution was nearly flawless, and their defense did just enough to keep them in the game. Oklahoma: The Sooners could not get Army's offense off the field. The good news is they won't face another offense like the Black Knights all year. POLL IMPLICATIONS The Sooners likely will drop a few spots after this one. As solid as Army is, the respect for the Black Knights isn't great enough for the Sooners to avoid being punished for the close call. HE'S BACK Former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield led a thrilling comeback victory for the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night against the New York Jets. On Saturday, he was back in Norman, exhorting the crowd. Last year's Heisman Trophy winner drew one of the loudest cheers of the night when he was shown on the big screen. MORE TACKLES The last time Oklahoma had two players with 20 or more tackles in a game was against Texas in 1974. Dewey Selmon had 22 and Rod Shoate had 21. UP NEXT Army travels to Buffalo on Saturday. Oklahoma hosts Baylor on Saturday. ___ Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP . ___ More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

ESPN Orlando 580 is your home for the NFL this season. Whether it’s Thursday night, Sunday all day or Monday night – ESPN Orlando has you covered. Check out the entire schedule here!
ESPN Orlando 580 is your home for the NFL this season. Whether it’s Thursday night, Sunday all day or Monday night – ESPN Orlando has you covered. Check out the entire schedule here!
ESPN Orlando 580 is your home for the NFL this season. Whether it’s Thursday night, Sunday all day or Monday night – ESPN Orlando has you covered. Check out the entire schedule here!
ESPN Orlando 580 is your home for the NFL this season. Whether it’s Thursday night, Sunday all day or Monday night – ESPN Orlando has you covered. Check out the entire schedule here!
ODU's miracle, Stanford's stunner and the best (and worst) of Week 4 Old Dominion's backup QB, who grew up a Virginia Tech fan, leads stunner over the No. 13 Hokies.