CARDS CLINCH HOME FIELD IN NL POSTSEASON: Matt Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals clinched home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs when they beat the Cubs 4-0 Sunday for their sixth straight win.
With the top seed, the NL Central champions will host the wild-card winner in Game 1 of a NL division series on Thursday.
Joe Kelly (10-5) pitched 5 1/3 innings of three-hit ball in relief of Jake Westbrook as the Cardinals matched a season high winning streak to finish 97-65, their most since reaching 100 in 2005. St. Louis also won six straight from April 30-May 5.
The Cubs finished last in the Central at 66-96.
Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (8-13), a Valparaiso High School graduate, gave up three runs on eight hits in six innings.
RAYS, RANGERS FORCE AL WILD-CARD TIEBREAKER: The Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers are set for a one-game tiebreaker to see which team advances to the AL wild-card playoff.
The Rays and Rangers both won Sunday and ended up even. They'll meet tonight in Texas, with the winner earning the second wild-card spot and playing at Cleveland on Wednesday night.
Cleveland won its 10th in a row and clinched its first playoff berth since 2007. Ubaldo Jimenez struck out 13 as the Indians beat Minnesota 5-1 to win the top wild-card slot.
Cincinnati plays at Pittsburgh on Tuesday night in the NL wild-card playoff.
In the best-of-five division series, the Los Angeles Dodgers start at Atlanta. In the AL, Detroit opens at Oakland and the wild card visits Boston.
MARLINS' ALVAREZ THROWS CRAZY NO-HITTER AGAINST TIGERS: Henderson Alvarez pitched one of baseball's most bizarre no-hitters, celebrating in the on-deck circle when the Miami Marlins scored on a two-out wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers 1-0 Sunday.
The Marlins loaded the bases and with pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs at bat, Luke Putkonen threw a wild pitch that let Giancarlo Stanton score. Alvarez (5-6) was on deck, and he took off his batting helmet and started to celebrate while still wearing his batting gloves.
MCCOUGHTRY, DREAM OUST FEVER: Angel McCoughtry led Atlanta to its third WNBA Finals spot in four years, scoring 27 points in the Dream's 67-53 victory over the Fever on Sunday.
Seeking their first title, the Dream swept the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals. Atlanta will face Western Conference champion Minnesota, which swept Phoenix.
Tamika Catchings led Indiana with 24 points and six rebounds. The short-handed Fever were trying to become the first team to win consecutive titles since Los Angeles in 2001 and 2002.
JOHNSON WINS FOR RECORD 8TH TIME AT DOVER: Jimmie Johnson held off teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. down the stretch to win for a record eighth time at Dover International Speedway.
Johnson had shared the mark of seven wins on the concrete mile with Bobby Allison and Richard Petty. Led by Johnson, the entire top 10 Sunday was made up of Chase for the Sprint Cup championship drivers.
Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, who won the first two Chase races, Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer completed the top 10.
Kenseth kept his points lead even as he fell short in trying to become the first driver to win the first three Chase races.
MAJESTIC STAR CASINO TO HOST BILLIARDS CHAMPIONSHIP: The Greater Midwest Poolplayers Association will direct the South Shore Midwest Pocket Billiard Championships from Oct. 9 to 13 at the Majestic Star Casino and Hotel in Gary.
Eight-time world champion Nick Varner will be on hand for a meet and greet session with players and spectators Oct. 9 in the event center near the main entrance.
Sign-ups will be accepted an hour prior to the start of every event. For details, got to www.gmpaonline.info.
Around the horn
The NWI Exiles Rugby Club defeated the West Side Condors 29-17 this weekend in Chicago. The Exiles will host Rockford at 1 p.m. Saturday. The game will be a part of the Exiles' 40th anniversary celebration. All activities will be at the Hobart Rugby Field, just north of downtown on Old Ridge Road. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org; call (219) 313-3898, or go to www.nwiexilesrugby.com. ... Southern California fired Lane Kiffin, ending the coach's tumultuous tenure a few hours after the Trojans lost 62-41 at Arizona State on Saturday. Ed Orgeron was picked as USC's interim head coach by athletic director Pat Haden later Sunday.