Adrian Beltre and Craig Gentry each hit a two-run homer, and Texas beat Seattle, 5-3, on a night the Rangers clinched the American League West title. The victory, coupled with the Angels’ 3-1 home loss to the Oakland Athletics Friday, secured the Rangers back-to-back division crowns for the first time since 1998-99.
Elsewhere in the AL:
Detroit Tigers 4, Baltimore Orioles 3 (11 innings)
Cleveland Indians 6, Minnesota Twins 5
Toronto Blue Jays 5, Tampa Bay Rays 1
Kansas City Royals 11, Chicago White Sox 1
Oakland Athletics 3, LA Angels of Anaheim 1
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees, postponed
Ryan Braun stood at home plate for a brief moment, raised his bat high in the air and celebrated a mammoth hit that helped the Brewers clinch their first division title in 29 years. Braun’s titanic three-run homer off the scoreboard in center field broke a tie in the eighth inning and sent Milwaukee to a 4-1 win over the Florida Marlins. The victory, combined with St. Louis’ 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs, secured the Brewers the NL Central title. The Brewers hadn’t been division champions since capturing the AL East in 1982, on the way to a World Series appearance.
Elsewhere in the NL:
Atlanta Braves 7, Washington Nationals 4
Pittsburgh Pirates 4, Cincinnati Reds 3
Houston Astros 11, Colorado Rockies 2
Chicago Cubs 5, St. Louis Cardinals 1
Arizona Diamondbacks 3, San Francisco Giants 1
Los Angeles Dodgers 2, San Diego Padres 0
Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets, postponed
=== BASEBALL ===
All six division titles have been clinched in the majors, leaving the wild card spots still up for grabs with five days left in the season.
Milwaukee earned its first division title since 1982, wrapping up the NL Central Friday night thanks to some late heroics from Ryan Braun. He smashed a three-run homer in the eighth inning, boosting the Brewers to a 4-1 win over the Marlins. The victory, combined with a St. Louis home loss to the Cubs, gave Milwaukee its first division championship since winning the AL East 29 years ago. Arizona won the NL West with a 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants, just about eliminating the defending World Series champions from playoff contention.
In the American League, the Texas Rangers won the West Friday night for a second straight season. They won at home over Seattle and then celebrated the division championship when the Angels lost at home to Oakland.
Atlanta and Boston remain in the driver’s seat in the NL and AL wild card races, respectively. The Braves beat the Nationals Friday night to open a three-game lead on St. Louis. Boston’s game against the Yankees was rained out Friday, necessitating a Sunday doubleheader. But the Red Sox widened their lead to 2 1/2 games over the Rays, who had just three hits and lost at home to Toronto, 5-1, on Friday.
Major League Baseball says the cash-strapped owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers should sell the storied franchise to provide the easiest way out of bankruptcy. In a motion filed Friday in Delaware, MLB argued that a sale of the Dodgers would provide a clear path to settling the team’s considerable financial woes. The motion also argued that owner Frank McCourt acted in his own interests, and against the interests of the league and his team, by using the Dodgers’ bankruptcy case to cure his own personal financial problems. McCourt’s previous attempt to sell the team’s broadcast rights to Fox Sports was rejected by MLB, and the owner is now looking to sell to the highest bidder without league approval.
The Cincinnati Reds signed president of baseball operations and general manager Walt Jocketty to a three-year contract extension on Friday. Jocketty’s original contract was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2011 season. Jocketty joined the organization in January of 2008 as a special assistant to Reds president/CEO Bob Castellini and was named to his current position three months later. Last season, the Reds finished with a 91-71 record and took the National League Central Division crown by five games over the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the team’s first postseason berth since 1995. Cincinnati will miss the playoffs this season, as the Reds are 76-81.
=== COLLEGE FOOTBALL ===
With Oklahoma pledging to remain in the Big 12 after the ouster of commissioner Dan Beebe earlier this week, the focus for the top-ranked Sooners shifts back to the field Saturday with a home game against Missouri. The Sooners are coming off a 23-13 victory at then-No. 5 Florida State, while the Tigers ride into the game following a 69-0 triumph over Western Illinois. The Sooners have beaten Mizzou 17 straight times in Norman, but the Tigers gained some confidence last season with a 36-27 win in Columbia.
Second-ranked LSU heads into Morgantown Saturday night for a big test against No. 16 West Virginia with both teams riding noted winning streaks. The Tigers have won 35 straight in non-conference regular season play. West Virginia is riding an 18-game non-conference home winning streak. WVU’s last such defeat at home came to Virginia Tech on October 1, 2005. LSU, which earned a tight 20-14 home win last year over the Mountaineers, has a huge advantage under the lights. The Tigers are 47-4 in night games under Les Miles.
In another contest between top-25 teams, this one from the SEC, No. 14 Arkansas battles third-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide posted a 24-20 victory over the Razorbacks in Fayetteville last year and have won 19 straight SEC openers dating back to the 1992 season. Alabama is 22-1 in its last 23 games at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
A top 10 matchup takes place in the Big 12 when No. 7 Oklahoma State heads to College Station to face eighth-ranked Texas A&M. The Cowboys, who have beaten the Aggies three straight times, have captured 10 of their last 11 road games.
Elsewhere in the top-10, No. 4 Boise State hosts Tulsa; sixth-ranked Wisconsin welcomes South Dakota, No. 9 Nebraska visits Wyoming; and 10th-ranked Oregon opens Pac-12 play at Arizona.
=== NFL ===
Orlando Brown, a former tackle for Baltimore and Cleveland, has died at the age of 40. Brown was found dead Friday at his Baltimore home. A police spokesperson told a Baltimore newspaper there were no signs of foul play or suspicious activity. Brown, a physically imposing tackle nicknamed ”Zeus,” finished his playing career with Baltimore in 2005. He played in six seasons (1996-98, 2003-05) for the Ravens, starting 80 of 84 games played. He signed with the Cleveland Browns as a rookie free agent in 1993, and played three seasons with Cleveland (1994-95, 1999), starting 39 of 45 games, but missed three years after suffering an eye injury after accidentally being struck by a penalty flag.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is recovering from his concussion on schedule, and is likely to play Sunday against the Giants. Because of the day-by-day nature of recovering from a concussion, head coach Andy Reid could not say for certain that Vick, listed as questionable on the team’s injury report, will play Sunday, noting “if he’s okay on game day, then he plays on game day.” Vick has participated in regular activities the last two days, including practice, but the team will continue to monitor Vick’s progress overnight and during the weekend to see if he develops any symptoms.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo missed Friday’s practice with a rib injury, leaving his status in question for Monday night’s home game against the Washington Redskins. Romo suffered a fractured rib and collapsed lung in last Sunday’s 27-24 overtime win at San Francisco and on Friday said that if cleared, he would fight through the pain and would be on the field for Dallas’ home opener. Romo, who missed more than half of the 2010 season due to a broken left clavicle, suffered his latest injury in the first quarter against the 49ers and missed nearly the entire third quarter while getting treatment, but came back and rallied the team to the overtime win.
New York Jets center Nick Mangold will miss Sunday’s game against Oakland because of a high ankle sprain, ending his streak of 82 straight games played. Mangold was hurt during the first quarter of last week’s game against Jacksonville and did not practice this week. Jets head coach Rex Ryan said the three-time Pro Bowl selection will not make the cross-country trip for the game. Mangold had started every game at center since the Jets made the Ohio State product the 29th overall pick of the 2006 draft. Rookie Colin Baxter took over for Mangold after the injury and is slated to start against the Raiders.
=== NBA ===
The first casualties of the NBA lockout came, as expected, Friday when the league announced its decision to postpone training camps and cancel 43 preseason games. Representatives of the league’s owners and players met Thursday for nearly 5 1/2 hours, but neither side had any positive comments following the session and reports began surfacing that camps would be delayed and games would soon be lost. Camps were slated to open October 3 and preseason games were scheduled to begin six days later. The league said all exhibition games from October 9 through October 15 have been canceled. The regular season is set to open November 1.
=== GOLF ===
Adam Scott fired a five-under 65 Friday and sits atop the leaderboard after two rounds of the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Scott is at eight-under overall, one shot in front of K.J. Choi and two ahead of Jason Day and world No. 1 Luke Donald. Choi also shot 65 Friday, while Day posted a round of 67 and Donald shot a 68. Four players sit three strokes off the pace. Only the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings are in this week’s field vying for the $1.4 million first prize as well as the $10 million check for capturing the FedEx Cup playoff title.