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TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) - Jamie McMurray picked up his first Sprint Cup victory in three years by taking the checkered flag under caution at Talladega Superspeedway. Dale Earnhardt Jr. settled for second, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was third, Paul Menard fourth and Kyle Busch fifth. Jimmie Johnson steered around trouble and finished 13th, emerging from the race with the lead in the Sprint Cup standings. The five-time Cup champion passed Matt Kenseth for the top spot and has a four-point edge with four races remaining. Kenseth finished 20th.

Monday, 21 October 2013 12:33

Tigers' manager Jim Leyland stepping down

DETROIT (AP) - Jim Leyland is stepping down as manager of the Detroit Tigers. Leyland announced the move Monday, two days after the Tigers were eliminated from the AL championship series by Boston in six games. The 68-year-old Leyland led Detroit to the World Series twice in eight years, and the Tigers have won the last three AL Central titles. Leyland has been working under one-year contracts the last couple years, saying he was content to wait until after the season to address his status. Leyland was 700-597 with the Tigers. In all,  he is 1,769-1,728  with the Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies. He won the World Series in 1997 with Florida.

DETROIT (AP) - Mike Nugent's 54-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Cincinnati Bengals to a 27-24 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The AFC North-leading Bengals won a game for the second straight week by the same score thanks to Nugent's right foot. He made an overtime kick to give Cincinnati a win after it blew a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead at Buffalo. The Lions looked like they did enough to send the game to OT, but rookie Sam Martin shanked a punt just 28 yards to midfield in the final minute. Andy Dalton, who threw three touchdown passes, took advantage with two short passes to set up the game-winning field goal. Detroit's Matthew Stafford connected with Calvin Johnson on two of his three TD passes.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - E'Twaun Moore had 14 points in 30 minutes, and the Orlando Magic defeated the Detroit Pistons 87-86 on Sunday night. Orlando led by as many as 23, but Detroit kept its starting unit in late in the preseason game and closed the gap. Tobias Harris, who sat out the Magic's previous two games, scored 13 points and connected on all three of his 3-point attempts. But he left late in the third quarter with soreness in his left ankle and did not return. The Magic closed the first half with a 20-5 run. Greg Monroe led Detroit with 19 points. Andre Drummond had 14 points and 15 rebounds. 

Monday, 21 October 2013 11:15

Spartans win again with little fanfare

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Last year, Michigan State needed to win its final game of the regular season to become bowl eligible. No need for that kind of drama in 2013. The Spartans have already picked up win No. 6 - and they can expect to be firmly in the Big Ten title hunt when November rolls around. Michigan State eased past Purdue 14-0 on Saturday to remain one of three teams unbeaten in Big Ten play. The Spartans didn't look sharp at all offensively - and coach Mark Dantonio even considered a quarterback change - but the defense was again up to the challenge.

Monday, 21 October 2013 11:13

Brilliant rotation not enough for Tigers

DETROIT (AP) - In a scene emblematic of Detroit's postseason downfall, Max Scherzer could only watch. In fact, there was little any of the Tigers' starting pitchers could have done differently to prevent another disappointing ending to a fine year. The Tigers lost the AL championship series to Boston in six games because the few weaknesses they had all seemed to hurt them at the worst possible time. Whether it was an unreliable bullpen, poor baserunning or shaky fielding, the Red Sox took advantage of every Detroit flaw. Now the Tigers must look ahead to 2014, with a core of players that has done everything Detroit could ask for - except win a World Series for the Motor City.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner says the Wolverines aren't discouraged about losing their first game of the season. Michigan fell out of The Associated Press rankings for the first time this year after losing 43-40 in four overtimes at Penn State. Gardner says it's up to Wolverines to prevent the loss from being a cloud over their heads. The Wolverines' (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten) first chance to bounce back comes Saturday at home against Indiana (3-3, 1-1). The Hoosiers have lost 17 straight in the series and haven't won at Michigan Stadium in four-plus decades. Kick off Saturday is at 3:30 p.m.

DETROIT (AP) - Mike Napoli's majestic homer began a rare early Boston breakthrough, Junichi Tazawa again bested Miguel Cabrera in a crucial spot and the Red Sox moved within one win of reaching the World Series by edging the Detroit Tigers 4-3 on Thursday night. Boston returns to Fenway Park with a 3-2 lead in the AL championship series. Game 6 is Saturday with the Tigers' Max Scherzer facing the Red Sox's Clay Buchholz. Cabrera was thrown out at the plate in the first inning, halting an early Detroit rally, and he hit into a double play against Tazawa with runners at the corners in the seventh. The Tigers scored a run on the grounder, but it was a trade-off the Red Sox were willing to make. Napoli led off a three-run second with a drive off Anibal Sanchez into the ivy beyond the wall in center field.

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The National League Championship Series moves to St. Louis tonight with the Cards leading the Dodgers 3-2. They will attempt to wrap things up and earn a spot in the World Series when the two clubs square off Friday night at Busch Stadium. The Game 6 pitching matchup will have Clayton Kershaw going for the Dodgers against Michael Wacha. It's a rematch of the Game 2 starters, which was won by the Cards 1-0.

DENVER (AP) - Johan Franzen scored two goals, including the tiebreaker with 12:50 remaining, and Jonas Gustavsson stopped 38 shots, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 victory over Colorado on Thursday night to snap the Avalanche's six-game winning streak under new coach Patrick Roy. Pavel Datsyuk also had two goals and Daniel Alfredsson added three assists for the Red Wings, who lost defenseman Niklas Kronwall early in the first period when he was carried off the ice on a stretcher after being rammed into the boards by Cody McLeod. Erik Johnson and Gabriel Landeskog scored for the Avalanche as they finished a win short of matching the franchise record for best start set by the 1985-86 Quebec Nordiques.

Friday, 18 October 2013 10:05

Irving scores 15 as Cavs down Pistons 96-84

CLEVELAND (AP) - Kyrie Irving scored 12 of his 15 points in the third quarter to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 96-84 win over the Detroit Pistons in a preseason game Thursday night. Irving made a 3-pointer at the horn to end the first half and then turned his game up in the third. His assist to Earl Clark for a dunk gave the Cavs, who were missing starting guard Dion Waiters and several others, a 66-60 lead. Cavs rookie Sergey Karasev hit two jumpers in the fourth and fed Jermaine Taylor for a dunk to give Cleveland a 91-79 lead. Karasev started for Waiters, out with a bruised hip. Taylor scored 10 in the final period. Greg Monroe scored 16 and Josh Smith added 12 for the Pistons. Cavs rookie Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, had 12 points. Before the game, coach Mike Brown disclosed Bennett has asthma and sleep apnea.