Cubs continue to torment Padres with 1-0 win on Snyder RBI hit in 9th


SAN DIEGO—The San Diego Padres held their annual “Shirts Off Their Backs” fundraising raffle Thursday, when fans walked away with players’ jerseys after the final regular-season home game.The Padres might as well have offered the bats out of their hands. When they needed it most, their offense simply wasn’t there.Held to just three singles, the Padres lost 1-0 to the Cubs and were pushed to the brink of elimination from the playoff race. Brad Snyder, a 28-year-old rookie who was called up from Triple-A less than a month ago, hit an opposite-field RBI single off All-Star closer Heath Bell with one out in the ninth inning.Revenge a bit for 1984(Padres beat the Cubs in the NLCS)? Just a tiny bit.The loss reduced San Francisco’s magic number for clinching the NL West to one and idle Atlanta’s magic number for clinching the NL wild card to two.The Padres trail the Giants by three games going into the final three-game series at San Francisco.San Diego, which started the season with the second-lowest payroll in the majors, led the NL West for much of the summer until staggering down the stretch. The Padres have lost 22 of 34 games since Aug. 25, when they were 76-49 and had a 6 ½-game lead over the Giants in the NL West.In their somber clubhouse, the Padres kept saying they can win three straight games. But to simply force a one-game playoff for the division title, they’ll have to get past Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez no-hit San Diego in 2009. San Francisco’s manager, Bruce Bochy, was forced out as San Diego’s skipper after the Padres lost to St. Louis in the first round of the 2006 playoffs.San Diego has won 10 of 15 games against the Giants this season.It’s the first time the Padres have trailed by three games since April 17. The Padres are two games behind Atlanta, which closes with a home series against the NL East champion Philadelphia Phillies.San Diego has averaged only 2.79 runs per game its last 34 games. They’ve been shut out five times in that span, including two 1-0 losses in this four-game series. They scored just five runs on 17 hits in losing three of four to the Cubs. They had no hits after the second inning Thursday.Aramis Ramirez started the Cubs’ ninth with a broken-bat single to right-center off Bell (6-1) and was replaced by pinch-runner Darwin Barney. Xavier Nady laid down a sacrifice bunt and Barney scored on Snyder’s single to left.Cubs interim manager Mike Quade said Nady sacrificed on his own.Sean Marshall (7-5) got two outs in the eighth for the win. Carlos Marmol pitched a perfect ninth for his 37th save in 42 chances.San Diego’s Jon Garland held San Diego to four hits in 6 1-3 scoreless innings, struck out eight and walked one. Tom Gorzelanny allowed three hits in six scoreless innings, walked four and struck out three for the Cubs.

NOTES—The game started after a 22-minute rain delay…..The crowd of 28,576 gave the Padres a final home attendance of 2,131,774….The Cubs have surrendered three or fewer runs in 13 straight road games dating to Sept. 10, the longest streak by the franchise since 1920….The Cubs finish the season with three in Houston starting Friday night.

Sox prevent Lester from winning 20th, beat Boston 8-2


Paul Konerko hit a grand slam that wrecked Jon Lester’s bid for his 20th win, and the White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox 8-2 Thursday night in a game delayed because of a power failure.The game was held up for 21 minutes in the sixth inning when most of the stadium lights went out. A power outage in the area was the cause.Konerko connected for his 39th homer of the season and the ninth grand slam of his career. The fourth-inning shot off Lester (19-9) made it 6-2 and Dayan Viciedo chased the Red Sox ace with a two-run homer in the fifth.Lester was trying to become the first Red Sox left-hander in 57 years to win 20 games. He gave up eight runs and nine hits in four-plus innings in his final start of the season.Victor Martinez homered for Boston, which has four of its last five.Juan Pierre stole three bases, giving him a career-high 66, as the White Sox finished 6-1 against the Red Sox, and have won seven of eight since being eliminated from the AL Central.White Sox starter John Danks (15-11) pitched six innings and allowed two runs on five hits.Lester’s 15-inning scoreless streak ended in the first inning. Pierre hit a leadoff single, stole second and third and scored on a single by Andruw Jones.Pierre singled in the third, stole another base and scored on Jones’ bloop single.Lester ran into bigger trouble in the fourth. He allowed a leadoff double to Alejandro De Aza and issued walks to Pierre and Alexei Ramirez. Konerko connected for the game-breaking hit.Marco Scutaro led off the Boston third with a double. After a sacrifice by Darnell McDonald, Martinez hit his 20th home run.

NOTES—Before the game, Konerko acknowledged he would like to remain a member of the White Sox but also expressed interest in leaving his options open. Konerko is about to finish his final year of a five-year deal that he re-signed with the White Sox after they won the World Series in 2005. “Obviously it’s a business, so they have to figure out payroll stuff and when they do that, then hopefully I’m in their conversation, as far as being brought back,” he said. … Pierre stole 65 bases for the Marlins in 2003. … Danks and reliever Sergio Santos combined for six consecutive strikeouts in the sixth and seventh innings…..The Sox finish the season at home against Cleveland this weekend.

Hawks lose to Blues, now 1-4 in Pre-Season

ST. LOUIS—Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves to record his first exhibition win with St. Louis and the Blues beat the Blackhawks 4-1 on Thursday.Halak, who was acquired from Montreal in the offseason, hadn’t played since losing 3-1 to Colorado in the Blues’ exhibition opener Sept. 21. Ben Smith scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions but Halak stopped a penalty shot by Jeremy Morin with 4:05 left to help preserve the win.David Perron and Alex Steen both scored their fourth preseason goal for St. Louis (4-2-0). T.J. Oshie and Matt D’Agostini also scored.Marty Turco, who allowed all three goals, made 23 saves for the Blackhawks (1-4-0)who left top-line players such as Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews at home. The Hawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center Friday night.

Padres Young blanks Cubs. Wells pitches well,but no run support.


SAN DIEGO—The last pitcher to win a postseason game for San Diego is a big reason why the Padres still have a chance in this playoff chase.Chris Young and four relievers combined on a four-hitter and the Padres showed some life in the waning days of the season, beating the Cubs 3-0 on Wednesday night to remain 1½ games behind Atlanta in the NL wild-card race.San Diego remained two games behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West. The Giants beat Arizona 3-1 on Wednesday night.Young (2-0) threw five strong innings in his third start back from a five-month stay on the disabled list. He allowed three hits while striking out six and walking two. He walked Kosuke Fukudome leading off the game and gave up a single to Starlin Castro, then retired the side. He allowed only three baserunners the rest of the way.Young is the only Padres pitcher to win a postseason game since 1998. With the Padres trailing the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 in a 2006 division series, he threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in Game 3 at Busch Stadium as the Padres won 3-1. The Padres were eliminated the next day.The Padres won for only the 12th time in 33 games since Aug. 25, when they were 76-49 and had a 6½-game lead on the Giants. The Padres had scored a total of only four runs in losing their previous three games.Atlanta, which beat Florida 5-1 on Wednesday, is off Thursday while the Padres finish this four-game series. San Diego closes the regular season with three games at San Francisco.It was the Padres’ 20th shutout, tying the 2007 club record and matching Philadelphia for the major-league lead. The Padres retired 17 of the final 18 batters.Young won San Diego’s second game of the season, April 6 at Arizona, but went on the disabled list six days later with a strained right shoulder. After making three rehab starts, he returned on Sept. 18 in a game at St. Louis.The 6-foot-10 Young is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA since returning. In four starts this season, he has a 0.20 ERA.Young said his performance Wednesday night was a validation of the work he has put in during the past five months.Padres center fielder Will Venable made two great catches, including one in which he leaped to rob Aramis Ramirez of a two-run homer to end the third, then came tumbling down. Even Ramirez forced a smile after watching the catch. Venable, who sat out the previous two games with a sore lower back, made a nice catch of Alfonso Soriano’s drive to just in front of the fence leading off the second.Heath Bell pitched the ninth for his 45th save in 48 chances, and his 32nd straight.Chase Headley hit an RBI single in the second. Ryan Ludwick doubled leading off the fourth, was sacrificed by Yorvit Torrealba and scored on Randy Wells’ wild pitch. Luis Durango pinch-hit for Young leading off the fifth and walked, stole second, then scored on David Eckstein’s double down the left-field line.Wells (8-14) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, walked four and struck out two.It was only the fourth road loss in 18 games since Cubs interim manager Mike Quade took over for Lou Piniella.

NOTES—The Padres will play their final home game of the regular season on Thursday, with Jon Garland scheduled to start against Chicago’s Tom Gorzelanny.

Sox continue to dominate Boston, Garcia beats Beckett


Omar Vizquel hit a go-ahead single in a three-run seventh inning and the White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox 5-2 Wednesday.After Vizquel’s hit, the White Sox made it 4-1 on a throwing error by catcher Victor Martinez and a single by Alexei Ramirez off Josh Beckett (6-6) who went six innings for the Red Sox, who were eliminated from postseason contention on Tuesday. He gave up four runs on 11 hits, struck out five and walked four.Garcia (12-6) lasted into the eighth and gave up 2 earned runs on four hits. Garcia threw to two batters in the eight. He gave up four hits, walked none and struck out one.The right-hander was making his 28th start of the season and first since being sidelined with lower back stiffness on Sept. 7.Matt Thornton got the last four outs for his eighth save in 10 chances.David Ortiz looped an RBI single to left against a shift in the fourth inning to make it 1-0 and tie Adrian Beltre for the team lead with 102 RBIs.In the bottom of the fourth, A.J. Pierzynski tied it at 1 with a solo homer. J.D. Drew’s bid for a go-ahead homer in the sixth was caught at the right-field wall by Alejandro De Aza.Boston’s Mike Lowell got one run back when he led off the eighth with his fourth home run of the year.The Sox with a run on Juan Pierre’s double-play grounder.

 NOTES—had won two of his last three starts entering Wednesday, including a 10-8 decision at the Yankees on Sept. 24. … White Sox RF Carlos Quentin robbed leadoff batter Marco Scutaro of an extra base hit to open the game. Scutaro lined Freddy Garcia’s fourth pitch into right-center, but Quentin timed a perfect dive to make the catch. … In the second inning, Ortiz tried to catch the White Sox in their shift and laid down a bunt, but he was thrown out.

Dempster wins 15th as Soriano homers twice against Padres


The San Diego Padres are quickly running out of chances to stay in the playoff race.They shoul;dn’t look for any sympathy from either the Cubs or Cub Fans.Alfonso Soriano hit two home runs, including a two-run shot off struggling San Diego ace Mat Latos, and the Chicago Cubs won 5-2 on Tuesday night to drop the wilting Padres 1½ games behind Atlanta in the NL wild-card race.The 22-year-old Latos, who fumed after the Cubs scored two unearned runs in the fifth, lost his fourth consecutive start, his worst stretch this season.Padres have lost 21 of 32 games since Aug. 25, when they were 76-49 and had a 6½-game lead on the Giants in the NL West. The Padres dropped two games behind the Giants, who beat Arizona 4-2 to reduce their magic number to four for clinching the division. After two more games against the Cubs, the Padres will close the season with three games at San Francisco.The Padres were four-hit for the second successive night, this time by Ryan Dempster and two relievers. Dempster (15-11) struck out nine in seven innings. Carlos Marmol pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 41 chances, and his 20th since the All-Star break.The Padres lost 1-0 to Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs on Monday night.Before his skid, Latos (14-9) set a major-league record with 15 consecutive starts of five or more innings with two or fewer runs allowed. In his past four starts, he has allowed 18 earned runs in 16 innings (10.13 ERA), and hasn’t made it out of the sixth inning.With the score tied at 2 and Xavier Nady aboard on a leadoff single in the sixth, Soriano homered into the Padres’ bullpen beyond the fence in left-center. It was his 23rd. Latos got Blake DeWitt to fly out to left, then was hit on the right calf by Koyie Hill’s comebacker, which went for an infield single. Latos stayed in the game, allowed Dempster’s sacrifice bunt and then was pulled in favor of lefty Joe Thatcher, who got the final out. Soriano connected again on a full-count pitch from Mike Adams leading off the eighth.Latos allowed four runs, two earned, and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two.A Padres’ defensive meltdown led to the Cubs scoring two unearned runs in the fifth. Latos barehanded Hill’s one-out bunt but dropped it for an error. Dempster’s sacrifice advanced Hill, who scored on Kosuke Fukudome’s double to left-center. Starlin Castro beat out an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop as Miguel Tejada tried to make a twisting, off-balance throw. The ball skipped past sprawling first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and into the Padres’ dugout, allowing Fukudome to score.Black agreed, saying Latos should have gloved the ball.An upset Latos was yelling at someone in the dugout after the inning.San Diego’s Nick Hundley tied it at 2 with a 398-foot home run on a full-count pitch from Dempster into the second deck in left field, his eighth. Chase Headley was aboard on a one-out walk.Moments after connecting, Hundley tried to calm down Latos in the dugout.At nearly the exact moment Hundley connected, Juan Uribe hit a trying solo home run leading off the fourth to pull the Giants into a 2-2 tie.Dempster allowed four hits and walked two. The Padres had two runners on and no outs in the seventh before Dempster struck out the side.

NOTES—Padres OF Will Venable missed his second successive start with a sore lower back, similar to the injury that landed him on the DL earlier this season……Dempster struck out nine for the fifth time this season. He became the third Canadian-born pitcher with at least three 15-win seasons. The others are Fergie Jenkins (10) and Russ Ford (3)…..The Cubs, fifth in the NL Central, improved to 16-8 in September.

White Sox beat eliminated Boston in Viciedo RBI hit in 9th

Just about an hour after learning his team’s playoff hopes were over, Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona watched as his bullpen blew a late-inning lead.Paul Konerko tied the game in the eighth inning with a run-scoring double and Dayan Viciedo won it with a pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth as the White Sox rallied for a 5-4 victory Tuesday night.Boston’s slim playoff hopes were dashed about an hour before the game ended. Tampa Bays beat Baltimore 5-0 and New York defeated Toronto 6-1 to secure playoff berths and eliminate the Red Sox.A season with mounting injuries means the Red Sox won’t be playing in the postseason for the first time since 2006.Chris Sale (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win for the White Sox, who snapped a seven-game home losing streak.Juan Pierre singled with one out in the ninth off Michael Bowden (0-1). Pierre stole second and third off reliever Michael Bowden, who then walked pinch-hitter Mark Teahen. Viciedo ended the game with a single off Matt Fox just past a diving Daniel Nava in left.The White Sox have won five of its last six games as they hope to close the season on a strong note.Trailing 4-3 in the eighth, Manny Ramirez led off the inning with a walk. Brent Lillibridge came in as a pinch-runner and stole second. Konerko doubled to right off Daniel Bard to tie the game at 4. Bard ended the inning by striking out Andruw Jones with runners on first and third.David Ortiz homered for the Red Sox and John Lackey pitched six strong innings.The Red Sox battled through season-ending injuries to Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.J.D. Drew homered and Adrian Beltre had two hits for Boston, which lost for the second time in six games.Lackey allowed two runs, three hits and a walk while striking out five.Carlos Quentin homered for the White Sox. Starter Edwin Jackson gave up four runs, three earned, struck out six and walked one.Jackson allowed consecutive doubles in the second. Beltre led off the inning with a double down the left-field line and scored on Jed Lowrie’s double.Drew homered on a 2-2 pitch with one out in the third, his 21st of the season. Beltre drove in another run with a sacrifice fly.Ramirez led off the fourth with a single. Two outs later, Quentin hit his 26th homer to cut the Red Sox lead to 3-2.Ortiz hit his 32nd homer in the sixth. Red Sox reliever Scott Atchison gave up consecutive singles to Quentin and Alexei Ramirez in the seventh. Rich Hill relieved Atchison and retired the first batter he faced then gave up an RBI single to Brent Morel.

NOTES—A.J. Pierzynski is unsure of his future with the White Sox. Pierzynski becomes a free agent after the season and has played the last six seasons with the White Sox. “Everyone knows where I stand with the White Sox and the people and the city,” he said. “I’ve never said that I don’t want to come back. The door is open. But we’ll see what happens. It takes two to do that, make it possible. We’ll see where it goes.” ….Red Sox C Jarrod Saltalamacchia underwent successful surgery to repair a ligament tear in his left thumb. Boston expects Saltalamacchia to be ready for spring training…..Alex Rios is day-to-day after fouling a ball off his left knee.

Pens beat Hawks 4-1 despite Beach goal

PITTSBURGH—Evgeni Malkin scored for Pittsburgh and the Penguins beat the Blackhawks 4-1 Tuesday.Dustin Jeffrey, Nick Johnson and Mark Letestu also had goals for Pittsburgh, and Paul Martin had two assists. Kyle Beach scored for the Blackhawks, who fell to 1-3 in the preseason. The Penguins are 4-0.The game matched the past two Stanley Cup champions — but the lineups did not. Malkin played, but fellow Penguins stars Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury and Brooks Orpik were among the scratches. The Hawks chose not to dress, among others, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa and Marty Turco.Both of the Penguins’ third-period goals went in off of Brent Seabrook.

Pack’s Nick Collins gets into it with Soldier Field fan after Bears win Monday night. NFL investigating.

MILWAUKEE—NFL officials are investigating a confrontation between Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins and a fan after Monday night’s loss to the Bears at Soldier Field.Spokesman Greg Aiello tells the Associated Press the league is “in the process of reviewing all the facts.”  Milwaukee’s WITI-TV aired video footage in which Collins is seen yelling at a fan as he left the field. Collins then appears to throw his mouthpiece into the stands. According to the station’s report, Collins said the fan spit on him and used a racial slur. WITI says Collins apologized for “losing his cool.”  Collins had a rough game in some ways. With the game tied at 17-17, Collins picked off  Jay Cutler but the play was nullified by a penalty. And on an earlier drive, Collins got called for a late hit on Matt Forte after a 15-yard reception. The Bears won 20-17.

Bears 3-0 after stunning Pack 20-17 on Gould FG with :04 left

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Now tell the truth! Did you really think the Bears would be 3-0 with wins included over Dallas and Green Bay? Me neither! But they ARE 3-0 after stunning the Packers 20-17 on Robbie Gould’s 19 yard field goal with :04 left that sent Soldier Field up for grabs.The Bears, wearing early 1940’s style throwback jerseys,won the toss and chose to receive. On a second down play,Jay Cutler hit Johnny Knox for 23 to the Bears 41.After Cutler was sacked,he hit Earl Bennett for 9 and a first down at the Green Bay 49. On a third down, Cutler’s pass for Devin Hester resulted in na pass interference on Charles Woodson and a first down at the 39.The drive halted at the GB 31 and Robbie Gould was wide right on his 49 yard field goal try giving the Packers the ball at their own 40 and they only needed six plays and 3:56 to get on the scoreboard as the Bears secondary looked like a sieve. Aaron Rogers completed passes to Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley which gave GB a first down at the Bears 19.After a false start, Rodgers hit James Jones at the 7 for a first and goal.The Jennings got wide open for a 7 yard TD grab with 4:26 left in the quarter.Danieal Manning returned the Mason Crosby kickoff to the Bears 44.After a hold on Roberto Garza, Cutler ran 10 and a face mask on Clay Matthews put the ball on the GB 42.Cutler than hit Greg Olsen at the 28.But Cutler’s next pass was badly overthrown and went right to Derrick Martin in the end zone,from where he returned it to his own 10.The Packers went three and out and Tim Masthay punted 58 yards to Hester,but a holding penalty on the Bears forced the ball back to the Bears 19. Cutler found Hester at the 35 for 16 yards as the first quarter ended.
After getting sacked,Cutler ran for 16 yards and a first down to his own 46.that drive was killed when Cutler was sacked for the third time,this by Cullen Jenkins at the 45 and Brad Maynard punted 48 yards, out of bounds at the Green Bay 7.Rogers got the Pack out of the hole by hitting Finley over the middle for 28 to the 36.On a third down,Rodgers avoided the Bears pass rush and hit John Kuhn for 7 and first down at the Bears 41.A third down pass to Driver for 10 made it first down at the 20.A holding penalty moved it back to the 30.Rodgers found Kuhn at the 20,and Crosby kicked a 38 yard field goal with 4:41 left in the half to make it 10-0.Crosby then kicked the ball out of bounds so the Bears took over at their own 40 but did nothing. Green Bay started at their own 18 after a Maynard punt and an illegal block in the back penalty.At the two minute warning,Green Bay was forced to punt.After a 28 yard Hester return,the Bears started at the Packers 44,and Cutler quickly hit Knox at the 13 for 31 yards.That set up a 9 yard TD` pass from Cutler to Olsen over the middle with :26 left.The Bears got to within 10-7 at halftime.
Green Bay started the second half with the ball at their own 20,and Rodgers hit Finley for 20 yards to the 43.Chris Harris was shaken up when he made the tackle,but he walked off on his own power.The Packers then used more than half of the third quarter(8:27) to drive to the Bears 19,but Crosby’s 37 yard field goal was blocked by Julius Peppers and the Bears took over at their own 28. Cutler hit Knox for 35 to the GB 33.Cutler then ran out of the pocket for 11 more to the 22.Next it was Cutler to Desmond Clark for 12 to the 10 and a first and goal.Cutler then hit Bennett at the 1/2 yard line,and on fourth down Lovie Smith went for it, and Cutler’s pass went off Clark and the Packers took over.The scoreless third quarter ended with Green Bay still leading 10-7.After Green Bay went three and out,Masthay punted from deep in his end zone to Hester who returned it 62 yards for his first TD on a kick return since late 2007.The Bears took their first lead of the night 14-10.Rodgers got the Packers moving again after they took over at their own 28.With nothing but passes he got his team to the Bears 25 for a first down.Finally,Kuhn ran for 18 to the Bears 7.After an incomplete pass,Henry Melton was called for an illegal contact to the head and GB got an automatic first and goal at the 3.Two plays later on third and goal,Rodgers ran out of the pocket and dove over the goal line to finish off a 72 yard,12 play drive and give Green Bay the lead back 17-14 with 6:52 remaining.Knox returned Crosby’s kickoff to the Bears 26.Two 15 yard penalties on the Packers helped the Bears drive to the GB 13. After an incomplete pass and a 2 yard loss by Matt Forte, Cutler hit Bennett who was downed at the 7,leaving a fourth down and Gould tied the game with a 25 yard field goal with 3:59 left. After the kickoff, the Packers took over at their 26.Rogers hit Jones who had the ball knocked away by Brian Urlacher and Tim Jennings recovered for the Bears at the GB 46.Mike McCarthy challenged the ruling,claiming that Jennings was out of bounds when he recovered the ball,but the ruling on the field was upheld with 2:18 left. On a second and 20, Cutler hit Olsen for 21 to the Packers 44 at the two minute warning.Knox on an end-around picked up two yards as GB used their second time out.A Cutler pass intended for Bennett was picked off,but Morgan Burnett was call for pass interference moving the ball to the 9.Forte ran to the 4. Next  he got it to the 1 as the Pack burned their final time out. On third down, Forte was stuffed for no gain and the Bears ran the clock down to :08. Gould then kicked his game winner leaving :04 on the clock. After Gould kicked off(a squib)the Packers tried to re-inact the Stanford-Cal game from the 80’s by lateraling the ball may times,but once a forward pass was thrown, the game ended once a flag was dropped.

NOTES—Patrick Mannelly played in his 192 game as a Bear,setting a new team record that he shared with Steve McMichael…..Devin Aromashodu,Tommie Harris and Chris Williams were among the inactives for the Bears…..The 18 penalties the Packers picked up are a franchise record.