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Wednesday's Sports In Brief

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The Associated Press | October 3, 2013 03:42 AM EST | AP


BASEBALL

CLEVELAND (AP) — They shut off the lights, cranked up the music and turned their clubhouse into a nightclub.

As Pitbull's "Don't Stop The Party" boomed off walls covered by plastic sheets, the Tampa Bay Rays sprayed each other with Silly String and emptied bottles of champagne as quickly as they could open them.

This road trip isn't ending anytime soon.

"Nobody wants to go home," pitcher Alex Cobb said.

Next stop: Boston.

Dodging trouble for nearly seven innings, Cobb and the Rays pitched their way to another must-have win on the road, beating the Cleveland Indians 4-0 Wednesday night in the AL wild-card game.

Cobb, who missed a chunk of the regular season after he was hit in the head by a line drive, quieted a thundering Cleveland crowd and ended the Indians' unexpected season just one game into October.

Delmon Young homered in the third inning off rookie Danny Salazar as the Rays, playing in their third city over four days, advanced to face the AL East champion Red Sox in the best-of-five division series starting Friday.

BOSTON (AP) — Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell waited until all of his players safely made it out of a simulated game before confirming what he'd only hinted at before: Left-hander Jon Lester will start Game 1 of the AL division series.

"He's been outstanding in the second half," Farrell said in the clubhouse. "The last couple of starts he's put together for us have been very strong."

Lester was 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA this season, but he won his first six decisions and seven of his last nine. From May 20 through the All-Star break, he went 2-6 with a 6.27 ERA.

Lester will be followed in the rotation by John Lackey and Clay Buchholz, with Jake Peavy ready to pitch Game 4 of the best-of-five series against Tampa Bay if necessary.

ATLANTA (AP) — Slumping second baseman Dan Uggla was left off the Atlanta Braves' roster for the NL division series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Braves announced their roster Wednesday, a day before the series opener.

Outfielder B.J. Upton, who is hitting only .184, is on the roster.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

U.S. military academy football teams will play this weekend, despite the government shutdown.

A senior defense official said the decision affects this weekend's games only, and future games will be evaluated as events unfold. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Navy later confirmed its home game against Air Force in Annapolis, Md., would be played as scheduled Saturday. The game is sold out and is the most notable one on the Midshipmen's home schedule. The Army-Navy game at the end of the season is played at a neutral site.

The Navy-AFA game and Army's game at Boston College were in jeopardy after the Defense Department temporarily suspended sports competition at the service academies as a result of the budget impasse in Congress.

Email messages left with spokesmen for Army and Air Force were not immediately returned.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two more former college football players have filed a lawsuit against the NCAA stemming from concussions and brain injuries.

John DuRocher, a quarterback at Washington and Oregon, and Darin Harris, a safety at Washington, are seeking more than $5 million in damages. Both say they sustained repeated head injuries, despite promises that they would be competing in a protected college environment.

The class-action suit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of Southern Indiana.

Helmet-manufacturer Riddell and its parent company, Easton-Bell Sports, are also named in the complaint.

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Alabama coach Nick Saban has suspended star safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix indefinitely for violating unspecified team rules.

Saban announced the suspension of one of the top-ranked Crimson Tide's top defensive players after Wednesday's practice. Saban wouldn't say what Clinton-Dix did wrong.

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PRO BASKETBALL

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — LeBron James has the world's best-selling NBA jersey.

The Miami Heat star and four-time league MVP tops the NBA's global list of jersey sales for this past season, according to numbers released Tuesday. James — who also has the top-selling jersey in the United States — outsold Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Heat teammate Dwyane Wade for the No. 1 spot.

PHOENIX (AP) — NBA star Steve Nash and his former wife have reached a settlement in an Arizona court in their child custody case.

Judge Ray Ryan Adelman of Maricopa County Superior Court on Sept. 25 signed an order accepting the settlement and ordering it sealed.

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PRO HOCKEY

MONTREAL (AP) — Montreal Canadiens enforcer George Parros was released from the hospital after being treated overnight for a head injury suffered in a season-opening loss to Toronto.

Parros was knocked unconscious early in the third period Tuesday after his face slammed into the ice during a fight with Maple Leafs tough guy Colton Orr. Parros spent several minutes motionless on the ice before he was taken off on a stretcher.

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim isn't on board with paying college athletes.

Speaking Wednesday in Syracuse at an annual Associated Press meeting of New York newspaper editors, Boeheim said he's heard the most recent talk about paying college athletes and doesn't agree with it one bit.

"That's really the most idiotic suggestion of all time," Boeheim said. "I don't believe players should be paid. I believe they are getting a tremendous opportunity."

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SKIING

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Lindsey Vonn's surgically repaired right knee feels so good she could be racing again by the end of the month, five weeks earlier than she originally expected.

Vonn "reopened" the idea of competing in the season-opening World Cup event in Soelden, Austria, after returning to the slopes last month in Portillo, Chile. The World Cup in Soelden is Oct. 26-27.

"It's definitely a possibility at this point," she said. "I have to get over there and see how I feel."

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CYCLING

LONDON (AP) — Lance Armstrong's Olympic medal is back with the IOC.

The International Olympic Committee stripped the American rider of the bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Games in January after he admitted to doping.

After months of delays, Armstrong handed back the medal two weeks ago to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

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AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Penske Racing signed Brad Keselowski and Miller Lite to contract extensions through the 2017 season.

It's the second contract extension for the defending Sprint Cup Series champion in less than two years. Keselowski signed an extension after the 2011 season that ran through next year. That contract was redone to put the driver and sponsor in concurrent deals.

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TENNIS

BEIJING (AP) — Li Na kept alive local hopes of a first homegrown champion in the China Open, reaching the quarterfinals with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Sabine Lisicki of Germany.

In men's play, 2005 champion Rafael Nadal edged Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 7-6 (3) to move into the third round.

TOKYO (AP) — Top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro advanced to the Japan Open quarterfinals with a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 win over fellow Argentine Carlos Berlocq.