Professional Sports

Pens hoping depth behind stars leads to deeper run

PITTSBURGH - Mike Johnston spent his first season coaching the Pittsburgh Penguins preaching the same message over and over to his talented but almost pathologically unselfish lineup:Shoot the puck.For long stretches in a maddening and injury-marred year that saw the Penguins meekly exit the ...

Bryant has ‘learned’ from mistake

PITTSBURGH - The texts popped into Martavis Bryant's phone every morning.And while the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver would prefer to keep their contents private, the fact Ben Roethlisberger sent them at all was nearly as important as the sentiment the quarterback was trying to convey.There ...

Dolphins fire Philbin

MIAMI - New Miami Dolphins coach Dan Campbell believes his underachieving team needs to show more aggressiveness that stops just short of dirty play, and he looks forward to breaking up a few fights in practice.Joe Philbin he's not - which was the motive for the Dolphins' coaching change ...

Kicking in NFL becoming tough

NEW YORK - All plaudits to Cairo Santos of the Chiefs for making seven field goals Sunday. At least someone was able to kick the ball straight this week.Santos' club record in a 36-21 loss at Cincinnati - that's right, all the points were on field goals, not three touchdowns - stands out even ...

Melancon spends season erasing all doubt

The Associated PressPITTSBURGH - The greatest season by a Pittsburgh Pirates reliever began with doubt.About Mark Melancon's command. About the state of his right arm. About his ability to close the door.Standing in a quiet clubhouse on April 21 following a 9-8 loss to the Cubs - a game in ...

Staying in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Pirates went 98-64, the second-best record in the major leagues. Still, they needed a win on the final day of the regular season to clinch home field in the NL wild-card game.They got that win behind J.A. Happ's stellar effort and Pedro Alvarez's long home run ...

Playoffs finally set

Dallas Keuchel started the All-Star game, won 20 times and twice dominated the New York Yankees.Now, the Houston Astros need him to pitch the game of his life - while starting on three days' rest for the first time in his career.All of the Major League Baseball playoff matchups were set Sunday ...

Bucs win means money

PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Pirates took care of business in more ways than one Sunday afternoon.By beating the Cincinnati Reds 4-0, they assured themselves of playing Wednesday night's wild card game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.There was probably a loud cheer from the accounting ...

Caps, Penguins trying to help stars

By Larry LageThe Associated PressAlex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby have won five of the last nine Hart Trophies and are the only active players to win multiple MVP awards.Team success, though, has been elusive for both lately and for Ovechkin throughout his career.The Ovechkin-led Capitals ...

Cole set to start against Cubs

PITTSBURGH - It was never in doubt, but now it's official: Gerrit Cole will start Wednesday's wild-card game for the Pirates against the Chicago Cubs.Manager Clint Hurdle made the announcement before Saturday night's game."It's special," Cole said. "I've said that all along as he's continued to ...

Pittsburgh replaces Scobee with Boswell

PITTSBURGH - Josh Scobee's miserable fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens cost him his job.The Steelers cut the veteran kicker on Saturday, less than 48 hours after a pair of late missed field goals by Scobee helped the Ravens rally for a 23-20 overtime victory.Pittsburgh replaced Scobee ...

Scobee dooby d’oh!

PITTSBURGH - Josh Scobee couldn't. Twice.Justin Tucker could. Twice.The big-legged Baltimore kicker hit a 42-yard field goal to tie the Pittsburgh Steelers in the final seconds of regulation and made a 52-yarder with 5:08 left in overtime to give the Ravens a 23-20 victory Thursday night.Scobee ...

Chance to bury Ravens goes wide left

PITTSBURGH - Of course the Steelers missed Ben Roethlisberger Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens.You can't help but think Roethlisberger would have had a big night picking apart a Ravens defense that was forced to play without the fearsome Terrell Suggs.Instead, Roethlisberger was a ...

Offense finally seeing uptick

NEW YORK - As fresh-faced rookies cleared fences right along with the reliable sluggers into late September, hitters perked up in the second half this season and stopped an eight-year slide in the big league batting average.The majors' batting average jumped from .253 before the All-Star break ...

Yankees, Rangers clinch playoff spots

NEW YORK - The next generation of New York Yankees will have a chance to make their mark in the playoffs.Ending a rare two-year absence from the postseason, the Yankees clinched a wild-card berth with three games to spare by beating the Boston Red Sox 4-1 Thursday night for the franchise's ...

Reeling Ravens face regrouping Vick

The Associated PressPITTSBURGH - The animosity is still there bubbling just underneath the surface.Forgive the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, though, if the current state of their longstanding rivalry is the least of their growing list of concerns.The teams that sprint onto Heinz ...

Vick, Steelers can keep up

Fans argue vociferously about the best rivalry in the NFL.Historic? Bears-Packers, of course.Intense? Try Raiders-Chiefs.For pure ferocity, Pro Picks will take Ravens-Steelers.There's a caveat with Thursday night's meeting, though: no Big Ben.Roethlisberger's absence has a huge impact on the ...

Payton says Brees will practice all week

METAIRIE, La. - Drew Brees' return to the New Orleans Saints' lineup seemingly will come sooner than later, even if the club's all-time passer isn't quite ready to guarantee he'll be back under center against Dallas on Sunday night.Brees said he took most of the snaps at Wednesday's practice, ...

Cubs, Bucs site up in the air

By John MehnoFor the MirrorPITTSBURGH - Now it's official: The Pittsburgh Pirates will play in the wild card game for the third consecutive season.That was the result of their disappointing day-night doubleheader split against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.Gerrit Cole's solid performance ...