Here is the latest Mid-America sports news from The Associated Press
UNDATED (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals have fired manager Mike Shildt over philosophical differences within the organization. The move came one week after St. Louis lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League wild-card game. Shildt was heading into the final year of his contract. Shildt replaced current Royals manager Mike Matheny on an interim basis in August 2018, then took over the permanent job the following season.
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs and Washington head into their matchup this weekend with two of the worst defenses in the NFL. No teams have allowed more points this season and they're both coming off allowing 30-plus points last week. It's no wonder the game has the highest over/under point total of Week 6 at 55½. But Kansas City and Washington also have turnover-prone offenses. The Chiefs are tied for the most turnovers in the league after two fumbles and two interceptions last week. Washington's defense is perhaps in the most trouble facing Patrick Mahomes with the quarterback looking to atone for his recent mistakes.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Just when the Kansas City Chiefs finally got their ground game going, they watched as Clyde Edwards-Helaire was helped off the field with a knee injury. It wound up being a sprained knee ligament that landed Edwards-Helaire on the injured reserve list 48 hours later. Now, the trick for the Chiefs is to keep from reverting to an air-it-out approach that has sometimes caused their offense to go stagnant. They are at their best when they are able to get their ground game going. It will be up to Darrel Williams and Jerrick McKinnon to provide that much-needed balance Sunday in Washington.
UNDATED (AP) — Oklahoma State is 5-0 for the first time since 2015. Now, the 12th-ranked Cowboys will try to win three consecutives games over Top-25 teams for the first time in program history. They play at No. 25 Texas. Oklahoma State won its first two Big 12 games against ranked teams before last week's open date. No. 19 BYU gets an early Big 12 preview when it plays at Baylor. The Cougars accepted an invitation last month to join the Big 12. They will start conference play in 2023.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is trying to keep his team grounded after it achieved its highest ranking since 1985. The No. 2 Hawkeyes should have no problem staying focused when Purdue visits Kinnick Stadium on Saturday. The Boilermakers have won three of the last four meetings. Purdue has hurt Iowa with deep balls. Many have gone to star receiver David Bell. Iowa leads the nation with 16 interceptions, 20 takeaways and its plus-15 turnover margin. Iowa will be without injured cornerback Riley Moss. His four interceptions are tied for first nationally. He hurt his knee against Penn State last week.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Hints of that long-awaited breakthrough for Nebraska under coach Scott Frost have been apparent lately. Their record has yet to reflect the progress. Time to make this a feel-good season is running out. The next game at Minnesota is a must-have. The Huskers are 3-4. The Gophers are 3-2. Nebraska took one-score losses to Oklahoma, Michigan State and Michigan over the last four weeks. Those teams are all currently ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll. Minnesota is trying to overcome another season-ending injury to a standout tailback after Trey Potts was sidelined by a serious injury.
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas football coach David Beaty is no longer part of an NCAA infractions case against the school. The independent organization that investigates such cases notified Beaty last week that an allegation against him had been withdrawn. In 2019, Kansas self reported violations in the football program. Beaty says he plans to get back to coaching now that the NCAA allegations are behind him. He hasn't worked in football since Kansas fired him in 2018. The two reached a $2.5 million settlement last year in a dispute over his buyout.
IRVING, Texas (AP) — Kansas has been tabbed the Big 12 preseason men's basketball favorite by the league's head coaches. The Jayhawks got eight of 10 first-place votes from coaches who couldn't vote for their own teams. Texas got the remaining two first-place votes. Defending national champion Baylor was picked to finish third. AP Big 12 player of the year Jared Butler is among three standouts guards no longer with the Bears. The coaches picked three Kansas players for the preseason All-Big 12 team. That includes preseason player of the year Remy Martin.
Dodgers knock out Giants
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers have finally defeated the San Francisco Giants in a winner-take-all series.
The Dodgers are in the NLCS after rallying in the ninth inning to beat the Giants, 2-1. The Dodgers can finally celebrate a postseason series win over their bitter rivals after the Giants captured best-of-3 series in 1951 and 1962 to decide the National League pennant.
Cody Bellinger broke a 1-1 deadlock with an RBI single that scored Justin Turner, who started the rally by getting hit by a pitch with one out.
Neither team scored until Corey Seager singled home a run in the sixth inning. Darin Ruf quickly responded with a solo blast in the bottom half.
Ruf's blast came off Julio Urias, who gave up just two other hits over four innings of relief.
Kenley Jansen got the win with help from Max Scherzer's save.
Giants starter Logan Webb struck out seven and allowed a run and four hits over seven innings.
The Dodgers head to Atlanta for Game 1 on Saturday.
Cardinals fire Shildt over 'philosophical differences'
UNDATED (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals have fired manager Mike Shildt, one week after the team lost to the Dodgers in the NL wild-card game.
Cardinals president John Mozeliak said the firing was "something that popped up recently," but he refused to expand on what he called "philosophical differences" between Shildt, the coaching staff and the front office.
The Redbirds went on a team-record, 17-game winning streak last month and made the postseason with 90 victories. They were 252-199 after Shildt took over for manager Mike Matheny during the 2018, winning the NL Central in 2019 and reaching the playoffs the last three seasons.
In other MLB news:
— The Braves are preparing to play without outfielder Jorge Soler (HOHR'-hay soh-LEHR') in the NL Championship Series as they await his clearance following his positive COVID-19 test. The Braves worked out Thursday at Truist Park without Soler, who was pulled from the lineup for Game 4 of the NL Division Series against Milwaukee on Tuesday.
— White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson says he wants Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa to remain in the dugout next season. La Russa's future was a bit of a question mark after the White Sox were eliminated Tuesday by Houston in Game 4 of the AL Division Series. Chicago rolled to a 93-69 record and beat Cleveland by 13 games in AL Central for its first division championship in 13 years.
Brady, Fournette provide 2 TDs each for Bucs
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are heading to their bye week with a 5-1 record after holding off the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tom Brady and Leonard Fournette each accounted for two touchdowns as the Buccaneers topped the Eagles, 28-22.
Brady tossed TD passes on Tampa Bay's first two drives while going 11 for 12 for 121 yards. He finished 34 of 42 for 297 yards and an interception.
Tampa increased its lead to 28-7 when Fournette walked in from the 1 in the third quarter. It was his second scoring run of the game.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts ran for two touchdowns but had trouble passing the ball, completing just 12 of 26 for 155 yards.
Philadelphia is 2-4.
Cats rally past Pens
UNDATED (AP) — The Florida Panthers have had good fortune when opening their NHL schedule at home.
The Panthers erased a late two-goal deficit and defeated the Penguins, 5-4 on Carter Verhaeghe's (vur-HAY'-geez) goal 97 seconds into overtime. The Pens were up 4-2 until Aaron Ekblad scored the two late goals to extend the game. Verhaeghe also finished with two goals and Sergei Bobrovsky (boh-BRAHF'-skee) made 43 saves for Florida, including a breakaway stop in OT.
The Panthers have won their last eight season-opening home games.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The Kraken have earned their first franchise victory in two games by beating the Predators, 4-3. Brandon Tanev (TAN'-ehv) scored his second goal into an empty net with 1:21 left. Alex Wennberg and Jared McCann each had a goal and an assist for Seattle.
— Ondrej Palat (AHN'-dray pah-LAHT') scored 2:43 into overtime to finish off the Lightning's comeback in a 7-6 triumph over the Red Wings. Tyler Bertuzzi scored a career-high four times, three coming in the second period as Detroit took a three-goal lead. Ross Colton, Nikita Kucherov (KOO'-cheh-rahv) and Alex Killorn (kih-LOHRN') scored in a four-minute span for Tampa Bay to make it 6-all.
— Andrei Svechnikov (SVEHCH'-nih-kahv) provided two goals and an assist in the Hurricanes' 6-3 downing of the Islanders. Teuvo Teravainen (TAY'-voh tehr-ah-VY'-nehn) added a goal and an assist to back Frederik Andersen, who stopped 25 shots in his Carolina debut. Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee each scored goals in the first of 13 straight road games for the Isles to open the season.
— The Stars pulled out a 3-2 win over the Rangers on Miro Heiskanen's (MEER'-oh HAYS'-kah-nehnz) goal at 1:38 of OT. Jacob Peterson and Radek Faksa (FAHK'-sah) scored early for Dallas, and Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin (koo-DOH'-bihn) combined to make 31 saves. Adam Fox and Chris Kreider each had a goal for New York.
— Anze Kopitar (AHN'-zhahy KOH'-pih-tahr) and Drew Doughty (DOW'-tee) carried the Kings' offense on a 6-2 rout of the Golden Knights. Kopitar set a team record by scoring five points in a season opener, delivering three goals and two assists. Drew Doughty added a goal and three assists to the win.
— The Blue Jackets rolled to an 8-2 win over the Coyotes as Oliver Bjorkstrand (BYOHRK'-strand) had two goals and two assists. Max Domi (DOH'-mee) added a goal and two assists to help Brad Larsen win his first game as coach of Columbus. Elvis Merzlikins (murz-LEE'-kihnz) stopped 36 shots in his first opening-night start.
— Anton Forsberg made a career-high 46 saves and the Senators scored three times in the first period before holding off the Maple Leafs, 3-2. Tyler Ennis had a goal and an assist for Ottawa, which also received goals from Alex Formenton and Chris Tierney. Formenton scored on a slap shot with 0.6 seconds remaining in the opening period.
— The Sabres have followed a tumultuous summer with a stunning season-opening 5-1 win over the injury-depleted Canadiens. Victor Olofsson and Anders Bjork scored 2:01 apart in the second period. The Sabres converted three of six power-play opportunities, with Tage (tayj) Thompson pushing Buffalo's lead to 5-1 early in the third period.
Brady Tkachuk gets 7-year, $57.5 million deal with Senators
UNDATED (AP) — Brady Tkachuk (kuh-CHUK') and the Ottawa Senators have agreed to a seven-year, $57.5 million contract.
Tkachuk was a restricted free agent and had not played for the Senators during the preseason until a deal was reached. The contract has an average annual value of $8.214 million.
Also in the NHL:
— Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (POO'-lahk) says he's agreed to an eight-year extension. Newsday reports the deal is believed to be worth $49.2 million. Pulock and Adam Pelech (PEH'-lehk) make up the Isles' top blueline pairing. Pulock is in the final season of a two-year, $10 million package.
— Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog (LAN'-dehs-kahg) has been suspended for two games without pay by the NHL for boarding Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach (dahk). Landeskog was assessed a minor penalty for boarding with 3:38 left in Colorado's 4-2 home victory Wednesday night.
Panthers' McCaffrey doesn't practice because of hamstring
UNDATED (AP) — Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey did not practice Thursday, a sign that he could miss his third straight game while trying to rehab from a hamstring injury.
The 2019 All-Pro running back had participated in four straight practices on a limited basis. Coach Matt Rhule (rool) told reporters on Wednesday that McCaffrey was "50-50" for the game and that his playing status would likely come down to a game-time decision.
Carolina's 2017 first-round draft pick was injured in a Week 3 win against the Houston Texans.
In other NFL news:
— Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson missed practice Thursday because of an illness. Jackson was listed on the team's injury report. He's missed practice time previously this season but hasn't missed any of Baltimore's five games.
— Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is making steady progress after sustaining a concussion in last Sunday's loss to the Cowboys and has a shot at playing Sunday against the Rams. Running back Saquon (SAY'-kwahn) Barkley and receiver Kenny Golladay haven't practiced this week. Barkley has almost no chance to play this weekend.
— The Bears have placed running back Damien Williams on the reserve/COVID-19 list, putting his status for their game against the Packers in question. Williams is second on the team with 137 yards and two touchdowns.
— The Washington Football Team says it is retiring late safety Sean Taylor's number this weekend. The last-minute timing has sparked criticism while the organization is dealing with multiple off-field scandals. Taylor was murdered at his home during a botched robbery attempt in 2007, midway through his fourth NFL season.
Pelicans' Williamson out at first week of regular season
UNDATED (AP) — Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is expected to miss at least the first week of the regular season.
Williamson's recovery from surgery to repair a right foot fracture is taking longer than anticipated, although Pelicans basketball operations chief David Griffin says nothing "has gone wrong." He says it's just taking longer for Williamson's bones to heal than the team had hoped when they initially forecast his return for the regular season opener.
Griffin now says doctors want to re-evaluate imaging of Williamson's foot in about two-and-a-half weeks.
Robert Streb leads a day of low scoring in CJ Cup at Summit
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Robert Streb shot the finest round of his career in taking a one-stroke lead in first-round play at the CJ Cup at Summit in Las Vegas.
Streb had 10 birdies and an eagle in an 11-under 61, but it left him just one shot ahead of Keith Mitchell. When Streb walked off the par-5 sixth hole after a long two-putt for birdie, he already was 7-under par.
Mitchell had more birdies than pars in matching his low round with a 62. Harry Higgs was at 64, while the group at 65 included Sergio Garcia and Viktor Hovland.
TENNIS-BILLIE JEAN KING CUP
US Open finalist Fernandez to sit out Billie Jean King Cup
TORONTO (AP) — U.S. Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez won't be part of Canada's team for the Billie Jean King Cup finals next month. Tennis Canada confirmed that Fernandez pulled out of the team's roster for the Nov. 1-6 matches in Prague and is being replaced by Carol Zhao.
The 19-year-old Fernandez turned in a breakthrough performance at the U.S. Open, making it all the way to the final before losing to another unseeded teenager, Emma Raducanu.
AFGHAN SOCCER PLAYERS EVACUATED
Female soccer players evacuated from Afghanistan to Qatar
UNDATED (AP) — Qatar says female soccer players have been evacuated from Afghanistan on a flight to Doha. Qatar's assistant foreign minister says there were around 100 footballers and their families including female players are on board.
Qatar worked with FIFA to coordinate the evacuation of players, who were taken to a compound with other evacuees to undergo coronavirus testing.
Concerns were raised for the safety of female athletes after the Afghan government fell much faster than publicly anticipated by the United States in August, allowing the Taliban to take back control of Kabul.