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Sports Shorts: top sports stories making headlines

Sports Shorts: top sports stories making headlines

Lance Armstrong has returned an Olympic medal. Photo: Associated Press

Banged-up Pats hold off Jets 13-10

It wasn’t pretty, it rained much of the second half and it might be best remembered for a near brawl at the end of the game. But when tempers cooled, the New England Patriots are 2-0 on the young NFL season.

Tom Brady threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Dobson on the game’s first series and the Pats held off the New York Jets 13-10 despite managing just nine first downs and 234 yards total offense.

The 1-1 Jets cut the lead to 13-10 on Bilal Powell’s 3-yard touchdown run with 5:05 left in the third quarter. But rookie QB Geno Smith threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter, two to Aqib Talib and one to Alfonzo Dennard. The Pats played without wide receiver Danny Amendola and tight end Rob Gronkowski, who missed the game because of injuries.

Vols suspend Couch for Saturday’s game against Ducks

Tennessee coach Butch Jones says defensive lineman Maurice Couch has been ruled ineligible for Saturday’s game against second-ranked Oregon. Tennessee is investigating allegations Couch was one of five Southeastern Conference players to receive improper benefits.

Yahoo Sports reported Couch received $1,350 from former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis, who served as a go-between for NFL agents and financial advisers.

Tied at the top in the MLB NL Central

The Pittsburgh Pirates continued their September run for the playoffs. The Pirates climbed into a tie for the NL Central lead with St. Louis by beating the Chicago Cubs 3-1 for their fourth straight victory. Jeff Locke allowed three hits over seven innings to earn his first victory in nearly two months. He’s 10-5.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee was doing the Pirates a big favor by knocking off St. Louis 5-3. That ended the Cards’ five-game winning streak. Tyler Thornburg threw six solid innings and Sean Halton homered for the Brewers.

In other NL action, Adrian Gonzalez singled home the winning run in the 10th inning to give the Los Angeles Dodgers a 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers reduced their magic number to five for clinching their first NL West title since 2009. Carlos Ruiz had three hits and three RBIs and rookie Cesar Hernandez reached base four times as the Philadelphia Phillies rode a six-run first inning to a 10-5 win over San Diego.

In the American League, the New York Yankees stayed within a game of the second AL wild card slot by edging Baltimore 6-5. Brendan Ryan scored the winning run in the ninth inning on a wild pitch by Jim Johnson, the Orioles closer who fell to 3-8. The Cleveland Indians remained in the wild card hunt by walloping the Chicago White Sox 14-3. The Indians are a game and a-half out of the final wild card berth. Ryan Raburn went 3 for 3 with a homer and five RBIs.

Driver Logano defends Chase status

Joey Logano is defending his place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, saying he earned his spot in the 12-driver field.

Logano is the latest driver caught in the fallout of NASCAR’s investigation into the field-deciding race at Richmond on Saturday. Radio traffic appears to show Front Row Racing offering to let Logano pass David Gilliland for a pivotal track position in exchange for something unidentified from Penske Racing.

There’s nothing in Penske radio transmissions to indicate wrongdoing. NASCAR said Thursday it is still looking into the incident.

Americans move up

The United States men’s soccer team is No. 13 in the newest rankings by the sport’s governing body. The Americans moved up six spots just days after clinching a seventh straight World Cup berth for next year’s tournament in Brazil. The U.S. has won 12 of its last 14 matches.

Spain is No. 1 for the 25th straight month, followed by Argentina, Germany, Italy and Colombia.

Armstrong’s Olympic medal

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong says he has returned the bronze medal he won in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

The International Olympic Committee stripped Armstrong of the time-trial medal in January after he publicly confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs during his career. Armstrong says he gave the medal back to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

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Triathlons popular with middle-aged athletes

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Triathlons, the swim-bike-run races of varying lengths, are scaling the bucket lists of many middle-aged athletes.