KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) No unexpected wild-card ride into October this year. The Kansas City Royals are division champs for the first time in three decades - and they want a whole lot more.
Johnny Cueto earned his first win in nearly six weeks and the Royals clinched the AL Central crown Thursday night with a 10-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
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The defending AL champions, who made a remarkable run through the postseason as a surprise wild card last year, came charging out of the dugout following the final out. Back in the clubhouse, they sprayed champagne during a happy celebration that included Royals Hall of Famer George Brett and owner David Glass.
Moments later, players returned to the field at the urging of outfielder Jarrod Dyson to salute about 5,000 fans who were still in the stadium.
It is Kansas City's first division title since 1985, when Brett led the Royals to the AL West crown en route to their only World Series championship.
BOSTON (AP) - Dave Dombrowski didn't have to go far in his search for a new general manager - as it turned out, his man was already in the office.
Dombrowski stayed in-house by hiring Mike Hazen as Boston Red Sox general manager, promoting him to help rebuild a team that went from World Series champion in 2013 to the AL East cellar last year - and is stuck in last again this season.
Hazen has been with Boston since 2006, and his promotion from assistant GM is the first big move by Dombrowski since he took over as president of baseball operations in August.
Dombrowski said he had a list of ''about 30 names,'' but, in the end, decided it was best to hire from within.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City Royals reliever Greg Holland has a right elbow ligament tear that will end his season and likely require surgery.
''It's a significant tear,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said Thursday before a game against Seattle.
Holland will see Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles next week to determine the severity of the injury.
Surgery is probable but depends on the second opinion.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles Lakers are giving Metta World Peace another chance.
The veteran forward re-signed with Los Angeles, agreeing to a one-year deal to resume his NBA career.
He won a championship ring with the Lakers in 2010 when he was still known as Ron Artest, starting all 23 postseason games in the highlight of his four-year tenure in Los Angeles.
Although his play appeared to decline sharply before Los Angeles released him through the amnesty clause in July 2013, his steadfast friendship with Kobe Bryant and his ability to mentor the Lakers' talented young core apparently played roles in the club's decision to bring back the 35-year-old former troublemaker.
World Peace has been working out at the Lakers' training complex this summer, and he caught the attention of the franchise's top brass.
ATLANTA (AP) - Two years after his wire-to-wire victory to capture the FedEx Cup, Henrik Stenson was just as dominant until he stalled at the end and had to settle for a 7-under 63 and a two-shot lead over Paul Casey in the Tour Championship.
Stenson ripped a 4-wood from 288 yards to 25 feet and made the eagle putt on the par-5 ninth to go out in 29. He added two more birdies to reach 8 under through 12 holes, but had his lone bogey on the 17th.
Even so, it was just the start he wanted on a course that he has figured out. Stenson opened with a 64 two years ago, stretched his lead to as many as nine shots in the third round and joined Tom Watson as the only wire-to-wire winners of the Tour Championship.
Stenson is No. 4 in the FedEx Cup and could finish as low as third and still win the $10 million bonus without having won a tournament all year.
Jason Day stayed with Stenson until one shot. Day birdied his opening three holes, but his drive on the par-4 fifth hole sailed through the trees on the right, over the fence and out-of-bounds. He made triple bogey and never really got back on track. He shot a 69 and was six behind.
Rory McIlroy had a 66 to join British Open champion Zach Johnson.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - The leader of the U.S. Olympic Committee compared the choice of Boston as a bidder for the 2024 Olympics to Seattle's choice to pass the ball at the goal line at the end of the Super Bowl last season.
Fortunately, CEO Scott Blackmun said, ''unlike the Seahawks, we have not lost the game.''
In his most candid public comments about the ups and downs of the tumultuous bid process, Blackmun used his speech at the U.S. Olympic Assembly to focus on the second chance Los Angeles has given the USOC to land the 2024 Games. He also conceded he owed an explanation about the Boston mess to this annual gathering of 400-plus members of the Olympic family.
''The Boston bid failed because, from the beginning, it was not a bid supported by the people of Boston,'' Blackmun said. ''Should we have taken the risk? In hindsight, the answer is `no.'''
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - The lawyer for a woman accusing Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane of sexual assault abruptly quit the case, saying he's no longer comfortable representing the woman because of how her mother reported finding an evidence bag they believed once held the woman's rape kit.
Thomas Eoannou told reporters he believes there were, what he called, ''fabrications'' in the story of how the bag was found. And he added that he's no longer sure if the bag ever contained evidence from the investigation.
Despite his concerns, Eoannou said he's still confident in the woman's allegations against Kane.
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) - The Seattle Storm won the WNBA draft lottery for the second consecutive year and with it the right to pick UConn star Breanna Stewart.
The 6-foot-4 forward, who can play all five spots on the floor, has led the Huskies to three consecutive national titles and has been the national player of the year for two consecutive seasons. She is the consensus choice to be the top selection in the April draft.
Stewart said before the lottery that she looks forward to bringing a spark to whatever team she plays for next summer.
Seattle won a revised lottery system that sent the non-playoff teams to the lottery, but based their chances of getting the top pick on their records over the past two seasons.
San Antonio, which had the worst record this season, will pick second. Connecticut has the third pick, and Atlanta the fourth.