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Brewers beat Cardinals 6-4 in home finale

Sunday, 22 September 2013 22:29 Published in Sports

 

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Norichika Aoki scored three times and doubled home a run, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat sloppy St. Louis 6-4 on Sunday night, hours after the Cardinals clinched a playoff berth.

Wily Peralta (11-15) gave up five hits and walked five in five-plus innings for the Brewers. The Cardinals put the go-ahead run at the plate with two outs in the ninth, but closer Jim Henderson got slugger Matt Adams to strike out to end the game and earn his 26th save.

St. Louis learned earlier Sunday it was assured of at least an NL wild card after Washington lost its doubleheader opener against Miami.

The Cardinals chased Peralta after loading the bases in the sixth with nobody out. Reliever Donovan Hand allowed two runs to score on consecutive sacrifice flies to cut the Brewers' lead to 4-3, but he hot out of the jam by getting Matt Carpenter to strike out on a curve with the tying run at third.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina misplayed a throw to the plate for another error in a two-run seventh that gave Milwaukee back its three-run cushion. St. Louis also committed two errors in the Brewers' two-run second.

Hand struck out three in his two innings of work to settle down the Brewers. The Cardinals threatened again in the ninth with two outs. Carlos Beltran had an RBI single, and the Cardinals sent the potential go-ahead run to the plate but closer Jim Henderson got slugger Matt Adams to strike out to end the game and earn his 26th save.

St. Louis remains two games up in the NL Central, but now has two teams to fend off in second after the Reds defeated Pittsburgh 11-3 to pull into a tie with the Pirates.

Playing their final home game of 2013, the Brewers closed Miller Park on a high note in a season marked by injuries and the doping suspension of slugger Ryan Braun.

The Cardinals didn't look sharp on the field. Errors by third baseman David Freese and starter Joe Kelly (9-5) helped contribute to the two Milwaukee runs in the second.

St. Louis began the day with an NL-low 71 errors.

Kelly also hesitated on what could have been an inning-ending double play in the first after getting Carlos Gomez to bounce sharply back to the mound with runners on first and third. But Kelly glanced just a split second long enough at Jonathan Lucroy leading off third. The Cardinals got the runner at second but couldn't get the relay to first and Lucroy scored easily for a 2-0 lead.

Leadoff hitter Aoki contributed to rallies in both the first and second. He's tortured Cardinals pitching all season, hitting .406 against them entering the day.

Aoki led off the first with a single and came home on an RBI single by Aramis Ramirez with one out. Aoki then reached on an RBI double in the second before scoring after Kelly threw away a sacrifice bunt attempt by Scooter Gennett.

Aoki also walked twice to reach base in each of his four plate appearances.

Kelly went seven innings, allowing seven hits and six runs - three of them unearned.

NOTES: LF Matt Holliday was scratched from the starting lineup with back spasms. ... St. Louis has a major league-leading 34 wins from rookie pitchers this season, their most since also getting 34 in 1952. ... Manager Ron Roenicke thinks SS Jean Segura will be available for pinch-hitting duties for the Brewers' three-game set starting Monday in Atlanta. Segura, the NL leader in steals with 44, has been sidelined since Wednesday with a strained right hamstring ... LF Khris Davis was out of the lineup Sunday due to a nagging wrist injury, but is also likely to return to action in Atlanta.

Aldon Smith to sit out next game for 49ers

Sunday, 22 September 2013 22:27 Published in Sports

 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- San Francisco linebacker Aldon Smith will miss Thursday night's game at St. Louis and perhaps sit out longer, 49ers CEO Jed York said Sunday.

Smith will seek treatment following his arrest Friday for suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession. After Sunday's loss to the Colts, Smith apologized and acknowledged he will get help, but didn't field questions.

"First off, I wanted to apologize to the team, the organization, my family and everybody I let down," he said. "I also wanted to let it be known that this is a problem and it's something that I will get fixed, and that I'll do everything in my power to make sure that this never happens again.

"I also wanted to let everybody know that once again I'm sorry."

Smith started for San Francisco and had five tackles in a 27-7 loss, two days after he was arrested and jailed early Friday morning following an accident in which his truck hit a tree. York defended the organization's decision to play Smith.

"Our opinion is if you're sitting someone down and paying them to sit down when they're going to seek treatment in the future, we didn't feel like that was an appropriate punishment," he said. "We're not trying to circumvent what the NFL will do. This is about making sure that Aldon has the opportunity to work on something, to get better, and he knows that he has our support and hopefully he has everybody's support in something that is going to be very difficult."

York expects Smith to get help, but the 49ers won't interfere.

"I think Aldon is going to take steps on his own," York said. "We're not worried about that."

Smith is a key pass rusher and sacks leader for the 49ers, and coach Jim Harbaugh had said leading up to Sunday that the NFL would decide how to punish the third-year pro, who turns 24 Wednesday. He had a franchise-record 19 1/2 sacks last season, second in the NFL.

When asked about Smith getting help, Harbaugh said "there's a process there we'll apprise you of at the appropriate time."

"It will be indefinite," York said. "There's no timetable."

York said Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke handled the situation and communicated with him.

"I think this was the best thing for Aldon," York said. "Again, there's no right answer here. We're very fortunate that nobody got hurt, Aldon included and anybody else. And we want to make sure that Aldon is never in a position like this again."

The league is likely to suspend Smith, but whether that is later this season or next year is unclear. 49ers defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs was suspended for Week 1 without pay for a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy that happened last season. Dobbs was arrested last Nov. 30 - his 25th birthday - for suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana.

Smith has had a rash of run-ins with the law that raised questions about his character.

"It was disappointing, but we support him, and knowing that what he wants to do is not a one-day fix, it's a long-term fix for Aldon," York said. "Aldon is willing to fight for himself and try to make this right, and I will see it through, and I will support him. I will take any shots that anybody wants to direct at the organization. They can direct at me, and I will support Aldon as long as he is willing to work at this and fight to get better."

Earlier this month, a lawsuit was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court naming Smith by a Northern California man who said he was shot at a party at Smith's house on June 29, 2012.

The players charged a $10 admission and $5 per drink, the lawsuit said. Smith and former 49ers tight end Delanie Walker, 29 were allegedly intoxicated on Smith's balcony when they later fired gunshots in the air while trying to end the party, the lawsuit said.

Before the 2012 home opener last September, Smith was the passenger in a car accident in Santa Clara County in which the driver swerved to avoid hitting a deer. Smith sustained a cut beneath his right eyebrow. He apologized and insisted he had grown up.

The 49ers selected Smith seventh overall in the first round of the 2011 draft out of Missouri. He became an instant impact player like many of the others chosen by Baalke in the past three drafts.

"This was not an easy weekend for us," York said. "Again, I'll support our players as long as they're willing to work toward getting better and being better teammates, better members of the community I believe that Aldon wants to do that, and I will support him and I will stand by him as long as that's what he's willing to do."

Bradford sacked 6 times, Rams lose 31-7 at Cowboys

Sunday, 22 September 2013 22:26 Published in Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams faltered under pressure.

And they still can't stop Bradford's college teammate DeMarco Murray.

Bradford was sacked six times, after none the previous four games going back to last season, and Murray ran for 175 yards with a touchdown on 26 carries and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Rams 31-7 on Sunday.

"We didn't do really, do anything well today," coach Jeff Fisher said. "I did not see this coming. This is a defining moment for us right now. We've got to get past this and get ready for the 49ers."

With a home game Thursday night against the defending NFC champions, St. Louis (1-2) has to correct things in a hurry.

The good part for the Rams is they don't have much time to worry about another lopsided loss against the Cowboys or another breakout performance by Murray against them.

The running back had a Cowboys-franchise record 253 yards rushing as a rookie two years ago in a 34-7 win over the Rams.

"It's a little frustrating. I'm not really sure why he has to do it against us," Bradford said of Murray, his teammate at Oklahoma.

The Rams had only 232 total yards. They were 0 for 12 on third-down conversions until a 9-yard run on the game's last play.

They had a punt return for a touchdown nullified by a penalty and they trailed 24-0 before finally scoring in the third quarter on a fourth-and-goal play from the 4.

It was the second week in a row the Rams trailed by at least three touchdowns before scoring. They lost 31-24 at Atlanta after being down 21-0 in the first half.

"Pretty much, we had a flat start," said receiver Tavon Austin, whose 84-yard punt return in the second quarter was wiped out by a holding penalty.

"We've got to find ourselves right now. Our back is against the wall. We've got to come out and play harder and harder and hopefully get some wins."

Players and coaches held a closed-door meeting in the locker room immediately after the game.

"We have to stick together," defensive end Chris Long said. "Nobody is going to come in here and save the day. It is on us to change things."

Tony Romo threw for 210 yards and three scores for Dallas, and Murray had his first 100-yard game in more than a year.

It started with a 14-yard run on Dallas' first offensive play, and he had plenty of open space on a 36-yarder to start Dallas' second drive to a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter.

Bradford finished 29 of 48 for 240 yards. But he was sacked four times by halftime when the Rams, trying for their first 2-1 start since 2006, had just 18 yards total offense. Murray had 96 by himself and the Cowboys 202 with a 17-0 lead by then.

The Rams then had a turnover on their first play of the second half when Chris Givens fumbled after a 26-yard catch.

Romo threw 2 yards to Dez Bryant for the first Dallas score. He had a pair of 24-yarders in the second half to rookie tight end Gavin Escobar and Dwayne Harris, who bounced back from a fumble on the game's first punt.

When the Rams finally started getting defenders around Murray at the line of scrimmage, Romo found him on the outside for a pair of catches on a drive that ended with a 2-yard run by Murray for a 17-0 lead.

Murray went around the left end before extending the ball over the goal line right on the pylon, and there was no review.

St. Louis avoided the shutout on Bradford's 4-yard pass to Austin Pettis on fourth down late in third quarter after an interception by rookie safety J.J. Wilcox was wiped out by a roughing-the-passer penalty against Jason Hatcher.

The Rams had a chance to stay in the game on their next drive, but Bradford threw behind Givens while Givens on fourth down. Dallas scored three plays later for a 31-7 lead when Romo hit Harris in stride in the back of the end zone.

"You name at it as far as execution errors and we did it today," Bradford said. "In the first half, we just never got anything going, played behind the chains all day. First play (of the second half), turn the ball over. Just things you can't do. Just a very poor performance on our part today."

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