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Sports Briefs November 5, 2010

| November 5, 2010 9:00 PM

Baseball

George “Sparky” Anderson, who directed Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine to back-to-back championships and won another in Detroit, died Thursday from complications of dementia in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He was 76. A day earlier, his family said he’d been placed in hospice care.

Anderson was the first manager to win World Series titles in both leagues and the only manager to lead two franchises in career wins.

“Sparky was, by far, the best manager I ever played for,” said former Reds star Pete Rose, the game’s career hits leader. “He understood people better than anyone I ever met. His players loved him, he loved his players, and he loved the game of baseball. There isn’t another person in baseball like Sparky Anderson. He gave his whole life to the game.”

Anderson’s win total of 2,194 was the third highest when he retired after the 1995 season, trailing only Connie Mack and John McGraw. He’s still sixth on the career list — he won 863 games in nine years with the Reds and 1,331 in 17 seasons with the Tigers.

New Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge filled out his coaching staff, hiring former Yankees hitting coach Chris Chambliss and longtime Giants infielder Robby Thompson as bench coach.

Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik also confirmed that Daren Brown, Seattle’s interim manager at the end of last season, has accepted an offer to return to managing the Mariners Triple-A affiliate. Alonzo Powell, who took over as Seattle’s hitting coach in May, has also been offered the same position at Triple-A Tacoma.

Also, first baseman Casey Kotchman has refused an outright assignment to the minor leagues from the Mariners and has become a free agent.

Knicks 120, Bulls 112: Tony Douglas scored a career-high 30 points as visiting New York defeated Chicago.

Thunder 107, Blazers 106, OT: Kevin Durant had 28 points and 11 rebounds as visiting Oklahoma City edged Portland.

Flyers 4, Rangers 1: Former Rangers Blair Betts and Nikolay Zherdaev scored to help host Philadelphia beat New York.

Blue Jackets 3, Trashers 0: Mathieu Garon stopped 25 shots for his second straight shutout as visiting Columbus defeated Atlanta.

Senators 4, Islanders 1: Jason Spezza had a goal and three assists as host Ottawa handed New York its sixth straight loss.

Blues 2, Sharks 0: David Perron scored late in the second period leading host St. Louis past San Jose.

Canucks 3, Avalanche 1: At Denver, Cory Schneider stopped 33 shots as Vancouver defeated Colorado.

Kings 1, Lightning 0: Jonathan Quick had 24 saves as host Los Angeles beat Tampa Bay.

College football

David Wilson returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown with 2:23 to play and No. 20 Virginia Tech (7-2, 5-0 ACC) held on to beat Georgia Tech (5-4, 3-3) 28-21 on Thursday night in Blacksburg, Va.

In his debut as the top-ranked player, Lee Westwood birdied some of the toughest holes at Sheshan International at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai and showed hardly any signs of rust from playing in his second stroke-play tournament in three months. He finished with consecutive birdies for a 66.

Two shots behind Westwood was Tiger Woods, without his No. 1 ranking for the first time in more than five years. Francesco Molinari of Italy shot a 7-under 65 for a one-shot lead.

Defending champion John Cook shot a 7-under 64 at Harding Park to take the first-round lead in the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in San Francisco.

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