Thursday’s Sports In Brief


LOS ANGELES (AP) Daniel Murphy and the New York Mets caught the Los Angeles Dodgers sleeping.

Murphy stole an uncovered third base and went on to score the tying run, then hit a go-ahead homer off Zack Greinke to lead the Mets over the Dodgers 3-2 Thursday night and into an NL Championship Series matchup with the Chicago Cubs.

New York trailed 2-1 in the decisive Game 5 of the NL Division Series when, with three infielders on the right side and no one near third, Murphy strolled to second on Lucas Duda’s fourth-inning walk and sprinted to third. Travis d’Arnaud followed with a sacrifice fly.

Murphy homered in the sixth for a 3-2 lead. He went 3 for 3 against Greinke, the Dodgers’ No. 2 ace who couldn’t stave off elimination for the second straight game. Murphy hit .333 in the series and homered three times off Greinke and Clayton Kershaw.

The Mets will host the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 on Saturday night. The two teams have never met in the postseason.


LAS VEGAS (AP) – Nevada regulators ordered daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and FanDuel to shut down, saying the hard-to-miss sites that have flooded the marketplace with TV and Internet ads cannot operate in the state without a gambling license.

The decision comes amid growing backlash by regulators and investigators, including New York’s attorney general, after it was revealed employees often played on competing sites, raising questions about possible insider information being used to win.

Nevada regulators govern the country’s main gambling hub in Las Vegas, and their actions could hold sway with regulators elsewhere.


NEW YORK (AP) – In a rare admission of discipline for game officials, the NFL has suspended a side judge and moved a back judge off a prime-time game.

The NFL suspended side judge Rob Vernatchi for one game for not managing the clock properly in the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh’s game at San Diego on Monday night. After a kickoff that was not returned, 18 seconds ran off the clock. The side judge is in charge of monitoring the game clock, which is kept on the stadium scoreboard.

Vernatchi ”will not officiate in Week 6 as a result of the failure to notice that the game clock was incorrectly started,” league spokesman Michael Signora said. Signora added Vernatchi is being taken off the Signora said the status of the clock operator in San Diego, an NFL employee, is under review.

The NFL also has reassigned Greg Wilson, the back judge who missed an end-zone penalty in the final moments of Detroit’s loss at Seattle the previous Monday night.


NAPA, Calif. (AP) – Brendan Steele had an ideal start to the new PGA Tour season at the Open with a round that featured nine birdies, no stress and a simple explanation.

It gave him a one-shot lead over Jhonattan Vegas in ideal scoring conditions at Silverado, which has such subtle movement in the greens that the course doesn’t always yield low scores even when players have a short iron into the putting surface.

Twenty-eight players shot 68 or better, and one-third of the field was in the 60s.

That included Rory McIlroy, who is between two seasons. The world’s No. 3 player had numerous birdie chances and didn’t convert nearly as many as he would have liked. What pleased McIlroy was the quality of his game from tee-to-green, far crisper than it was at the Tour Championship three weeks ago.

Three players did not finish because of darkness.


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina cornerbacks M.J. Stewart and Mike Hughes have been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules, sidelining them for Saturday’s game against Wake Forest.

In a release Thursday night, the school said Stewart and Hughes were suspended from team-related activities tied to an Oct. 4 incident in Chapel Hill. The release didn’t specify exactly what rule they had broken, though a statement from coach Larry Fedora referenced an ”altercation” and that UNC has worked with Chapel Hill police to gather information.


CLEVELAND (AP) – Cavaliers coach David Blatt said Thursday that LeBron James might not play for the remainder of Cleveland’s exhibition season.

James sat out his second straight game against Indiana after not playing Tuesday against Atlanta. The four-time MVP is healthy, but the Cavaliers want to limit his minutes in the preseason. James has played in two of the five preseason games.

Cleveland finishes the preseason Sunday in Toronto and at home Monday against Dallas. The Cavaliers open the season on Oct. 27 at Chicago.


NYON, Switzerland (AP) – All 54 European soccer nations backed UEFA President Michel Platini’s fight to clear his name and overturn FIFA’s suspension.

The support, which was announced through a UEFA statement, did not follow a vote in the meeting of UEFA members at its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland and offered no view on the case itself.

Platini and FIFA President Sepp Blatter were suspended for 90 days last week by the FIFA ethics committee following an investigation into a payment from soccer’s world governing body.

While Blatter has been replaced at FIFA by acting president Issa Hayatou, Platini retains the UEFA presidency and salary despite officially being banned.

GENEVA (AP) – Asian soccer leader Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa is looking to stand in the FIFA presidential election to succeed Sepp Blatter if he has enough support, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

Sheikh Salman, a member of Bahrain’s royal family, has until Oct. 26 to submit his candidacy which requires the backing of five federations to make the Feb. 26 ballot.

The Asian Football Confederation president would be stepping into the election void that is likely to be left by one-time favorite Michel Platini. The UEFA president’s campaign for the FIFA leadership had been quickly backed by Sheikh Salman last July. But now Platini seems unlikely to pass election integrity checks after the candidate cut-off because he is suspended from world soccer while under an ethics investigation over a 2011 FIFA payment authorized by Blatter.