Cards retake NL Central lead, win on passed ball
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Pete Kozma scored on catcher Mike Zunino's passed ball with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals retook the NL Central lead with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
The Cardinals lead the division by a game after Pittsburgh lost. They're 6-1 on a nine-game homestand.
Kozma entered in the eighth inning as a pinch-runner, later stole third base and scored the tying run.
In the 10th, Kozma singled with two outs off Chase Ruffin (0-2). Oliver Perez walked Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay to load the bases.
Zunino couldn't handle the first pitch to Matt Holliday, with the ball rolling free and Kozma scoring on a head-first slide.
Rookie Kevin Siegrist (3-1) worked around two hits in the 10th for the win.
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Sounders takes down Real Salt Lake in 2-0 win
SEATTLE (AP) — Obafemi Martins scored just three minutes into the match to give Seattle an early lead, Lamar Neagle added a second goal in the 38th minute, and the Sounders took over the points lead in Major League Soccer with a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake on Friday night.
The Sounders (15-8-4) vaulted past Salt Lake in the Western Conference standings and now sit atop the entire league with 49 points after their fifth straight victory. The Sounders are one-point ahead of RSL (14-9-6) and four ahead of the Eastern Conference trio of Montreal, New York and Sporting Kansas City with about six weeks remaining in the regular season. Seattle has also played two fewer games than Salt Lake.
Neagle scored in his third straight match and Seattle dominated the first half with U.S. national team stars Eddie Johnson and Clint Dempsey sitting on the bench as reserves.
Healthy Baldwin a boost to Seattle's passing game
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The joke is that Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin is always angry, always carrying a chip on his shoulder from being overlooked.
The truth is that while Baldwin plays with that intensity from going undrafted coming out of college, he's also a fervent student of the game, knowing where he can find openings in coverage.
After a 2012 season during which Baldwin was constantly trying to overcome nagging injuries, his performance in the season opener last Sunday showed off the abilities that the Seahawks came to value during his rookie season. Baldwin had seven catches for 91 yards against the Panthers, and most important to the Seahawks offense, five of those receptions went for first downs.
Starting CB Brandon Browner doubtful for Seattle
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Starting Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner will be listed as doubtful for the Seahawks headed into their Sunday night NFC West showdown against San Francisco.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Browner was not able to get as much work in as the team hoped this week as he recovered from a hamstring injury. If Browner can't go, Walter Thurmond will get his second straight start at cornerback with Byron Maxwell also getting significant time.
Defensive end Chris Clemons (knee) will be listed as questionable, but Carroll still believes he's a week or two away. Clemons went through contact drills for the first time this week.
Cliff Avril (hamstring) made it through the week healthy and is expected to start at defensive end. Defensive tackles Tony McDaniel and Brandon Mebane are also both probable.
49ers look to improve tackling as Seahawks loom
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — It was another opportunistic, rise-to-the-occasion performance by the San Francisco 49ers' defense against a top NFC opponent in last week's season opener.
Except for one thing.
The 49ers uncharacteristically missed several tackles in key situations, allowing the Green Bay Packers to turn short gains into big plays before San Francisco pulled out a 34-28 victory.
That's one area the 49ers look to improve on entering Sunday's night's showdown at Seattle, a top NFC opponent that ran over and through the San Francisco defense the last time the divisional rivals met.
No. 19 Washington, Illinois face early test
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Even though Illinois and No. 19 Washington are both coming off big wins it isn't clear yet how good either is.
Illinois coach Tim Beckman says it's too early to be sure what the hot start for the Illini (2-0) means. Illinois beat Cincinnati last weekend, taking over the game in a way that quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase says the team hasn't in a long time.
Washington quarterback Keith Price says his team faces a tough road test Saturday in Chicago after beating Boise State at home. The Huskies haven't won on the road outside the Pac -12 since 2007.
"I don't know how good we are — I still don't know," Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, said.
Saturday's game at Soldier Field should tell both teams a lot more about themselves.
Washington will be the first ranked team Illinois has faced since last season, and the Illini haven't exactly enjoyed those match-ups in recent years. In fact, they've lost five straight and 14 of 15 against ranked teams since upsetting Ohio State back in 2007.
The Huskies, meanwhile, will be looking at their first road test of the season, and a long way from home at that.
"It's hard to do, to win on the road," quarterback Keith Price said.
Utes' new offense gets test against the Beavers
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Nothing offers better evidence of Utah's radical offensive transformation than the number of explosive plays it has generated so far this season — a stark contrast to last year when the Utes struggled to move the chains on most drives and rarely had game-changing offensive plays.
Utah had six scoring plays of 20 yards or more in the first half of a 70-7 rout of Weber State last weekend. The Utes had 628 yards of total offense — the eighth most in school history.
On Saturday, Utah hosts Oregon State, a team that has struggled to find its offense after the first two games of the season. The Beavers have relied on quarterback Sean Mannion, who threw for 372 yards and four scores in a victory over Hawaii last weekend.
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Washington St. prepared for S. Utah
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Washington State coach Mike Leach has never lost to an FCS opponent, but he's concerned about the size of the Southern Utah players the Cougars will face on Saturday.
Leach says the Thunderbirds are big, strong, blocky-looking guys who move people around.
Washington State (1-1) enters Saturday's home opener coming off a surprising 10-7 win at Southern California.
Southern Utah (2-0) is a member of the Big Sky Conference and under coach Ed Lamb they are intensely dedicated to the weight room.
Southern Utah has already beaten an FBS opponent this year in South Alabama. And Washington State players are intensely aware that Eastern Washington of the Big Sky upset Oregon State this season.
Tale of 2 teams: Tennessee visits No. 2 Oregon
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — In his first year as head coach at Tennessee, Butch Jones wants to rebuild the Vols. In his first year as head coach at Oregon, Mark Helfrich wants the Ducks to stay the course.
The two teams meet on Saturday.
The second-ranked Ducks will be the toughest test so far during Jones' tenure with the Vols, who also face No. 18 Florida, No. 9 Georgia, No. 13 South Carolina and No. 1 Alabama in coming weeks.
Former Vols coach Derek Dooley was let go in part because of his 0-15 record against Top 25 teams. Tennessee has lost 16 straight against ranked foes.
Helfrich was Oregon's offensive coordinator the past four years and was promoted when Chip Kelly went to the NFL. The Ducks went 46-7 the past four years under Kelly.
Blazers add Howell to training camp roster
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers have added rookie forward Richard Howell to their training camp roster.
Howell averaged 12.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season at North Carolina State. He ranks fifth all-time for the Wolfpack with 1,055 rebounds.
The 6-foot-8 forward played in three games for the Denver Nuggets' Summer League team, averaging 1.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.30 blocked shots and 10.7 minutes.
With the signing of Howell on Friday, the Blazers' roster is at 19 players.
Vols' Couch sends apology on Twitter account
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee defensive lineman Maurice Couch has apologized after being ruled ineligible for Saturday's game with No. 2 Oregon.
Couch wrote on his Twitter account Friday, "I want to apologize to everyone from my family, teammates n the Volnation. I'm sorry I let u guys down." Although the account (MoTrilla44) isn't verified, Tennessee athletic department spokesman Jason Yellin confirmed it belongs to Couch.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones said Couch wouldn't play against Oregon as the university investigates allegations he received improper benefits.
A Yahoo Sports reported that Couch, former Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, former Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and former Mississippi State receiver Chad Bumphis received payments from Luther Davis, who acted as a go-between for the players with agents and financial advisers.