Last Update on September 19, 2014 14:47 GMT
UNDATED (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates, with a magic number of seven to reach the baseball playoffs, open a three-game series tonight at home against the Milwaukee Brewers, who are 3 1/2 games behind the Pirates for the second NL wild-card berth.
Jeff Locke takes a 7-5 record to the mound for the Pirates, who've won four in a row after finishing their three-game sweep of Boston with a 3-2 victory last night. Gerrit Cole was the winning pitcher in that one.
The Brewers, who've lost two straight after their 3-2 loss to St. Louis in 13 innings yesterday, go with Yovani Gallardo (gy-YAR'-doh), who sports an 8-10 record.
This afternoon at Wrigley Field, Clayton Kershaw tries to become the major leagues' first 20-game winner. The L.A. Dodgers ace is 19-3 as he tries to cement his second straight Cy Young Award. He'll be opposed by the Cubs' Edwin Jackson, who is 6-14.
The Dodgers hold a 2-1/2 game lead over the Giants in the NL West following their 8-4 win over the Cubs yesterday.
The St. Louis Cardinals, who have a 2 1/2-game lead over Pittsburgh in the National League Central, are home against Cincinnati tonight. John Lackey goes to the mound for the Cards.
Elsewhere in the NL, Doug Fister goes for his 15th victory as the East division champion Washington Nationals continue their series in Miami; The New York Mets visit Atlanta, Arizona is at Colorado and San Francisco visits San Diego.
In an important interleague game, Philadelphia visits Oakland. The Athletics lost 7-2 to last-place Texas, dropping a half-game behind Kansas City for the first AL wild-card berth. The Athletics send out 15-game winner Jon Lester in tonight's game against the Phils.
Seattle is within one game of Oakland for the final AL wild-card berth after Logan Morrison belted a three-run homer to snap a scoreless tie in the ninth inning of the Mariners' 3-1 victory over the Angels in Anaheim. The Mariners visit Houston tonight.
The most important AL series this weekend is at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City where the Royals start a crucial home series against Detroit. The Tigers, who lead the Royals by a half-game in the AL Central, send out 13-game winner Justin Verlander against the Royals' Jason Vargas, who is 11-9.
The Yankees continue Derek Jeter's final homestand with a game against Toronto. Jeter homered in the Yankees' 3-2 win over Toronto last night. Hiroki Kuroda takes a 10-9 mark to the mound for the Yanks against 12-game winner Mark Buehrle (BUR'-lee) tonight.
Elsewhere in the AL, the Chicago White Sox visit Tampa Bay, Cleveland is at Minnesota, and Texas is at AL West champion L.A. Angels.
IRVING, Texas (AP) -- The reason for Ron Washington's sudden resignation as Texas Rangers manager two weeks ago is out. The man known as "Wash" has admitted being untrue to his wife of 42-years. In his first public statement since resigning as Rangers manager, Washington apologized to his wife, Gerry, who sat nearby while Washington made a 3 1/2 minute statement. The 62-year-old Washington says he is embarrassed for breaking the trust of his wife, calling it a low time in his life.
NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL, in its latest attempt to stem the outcry over its reaction to some players' off-field behavior, is partnering with a domestic violence hotline and a sexual violence resource center.
Responding to increasing criticism that the league has not acted quickly or emphatically enough concerning domestic abuse cases involving players, Commissioner Roger Goodell (guh-DEHL') sent a memo to the clubs late yesterday announcing the partnerships.
The league will provide financial, operational and promotional support to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Goodell and some NFL teams have been heavily criticized for lenient or delayed punishment of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and other players involved in recent domestic violence cases. Less than three weeks into the season, five such cases have made headlines.
ATLANTA (AP) -- Devin Hester made NFL history while the Atlanta Falcons were producing one of the most lopsided wins in team history last night.
Hester returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter to give the Falcons a 35-0 lead in a 56-14 blowout over Tampa Bay. It was his 20th return for a TD, breaking the previous league mark of 19 set by Deion Sanders.
Hester also scored on a 20-yard run in the second quarter.
Matt Ryan was 21-of-24 for 286 yards and three touchdowns for the 2-1 Falcons. Julio Jones hauled in nine passes for 161 yards and a couple of scores.
The 0-3 Buccaneers were in line for the worst loss in team history until they scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
T25 FOOTBALL-AUBURN/KANSAS STATE
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas State was able to keep fifth-ranked Auburn's offense in check last night, but the 20th-rated Wildcats also made too many mistakes in a 20-14 home loss to the Tigers.
Nick Marshall threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns to help Auburn improve to 3-0 despite being held to only 130 yards, 200 below its season average.
Wildcats quarterback Jake Waters had 245 passing yards but also tossed two interceptions while the Tigers forced three turnovers. K-State kicker Jack Cantele missed three field-goal attempts as the Wildcats fell to 2-1.
Auburn was the highest-ranked team to play in Manhattan since second-ranked Penn State in 1969.
PRATTVILLE, Ala. (AP) -- Top-ranked Stacy Lewis and Mi Jung Hur start second round play at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Alabama tied for the top spot.
Lewis birdied the last three holes and five of the final six for an 8-under 64. She has a tour-high three victories this season.
Royal & Ancient votes to admit female members
UNDATED (AP) -- The Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews has become the latest golf club to end years of male-only exclusivity. R-and-A members have voted overwhelmingly in favor of inviting women.
The members also voted to fast-track a "significant" number of women to join in the next few months. While the club at St. Andrews did not say how many women would be invited, previous reports indicated it could be as many as 15.
Augusta National, home of the Masters, decided two years ago to invite women to join.
TOKYO (AP) -- Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki (wohz-nee-AK'-ee) of Denmark reached the Pan Pacific Open semifinals by beating eighth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3, 6-3 Friday. Wozniacki was in control from the start, breaking her opponent three times in the opening set.
The U.S. Open finalist will face Garbine Muguruza (GAHR'-been-yuh MOO'-guh-roo-sah) of Spain on Saturday.
WUHAN, China (AP) -- Two-time Grand Slam champion Li Na (lee nah) has announced her retirement at age 32, citing a recurring knee problem.
Li became the first player from China to win a Grand Slam singles title when she took the 2011 French Open. She captured the Australian Open title in January, her third trip to the final at Melbourne Park.
She only entered seven tournaments after that, and hasn't played since a third-round defeat at Wimbledon.