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Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has an RIP O.T. #18 on his hat as he walks off the field during the first inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. The writing was to honor St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras who died Sunday in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has an RIP O.T. #18 on his hat as he walks off the field during the first inning of Game 6 of baseball’s World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. The writing was to honor St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras who died Sunday in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

(Kansas City) (AP) – There was a moment of silence before Game 6 of the World Series to honor Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, who died in an automobile accident last weekend in the Dominican Republic.

The 22-year-old Taveras, who made his big league debut this season, was buried earlier Tuesday in a funeral attended by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak.

Royals starter Yordano Ventura, who was close friends with Taveras from their days in the minor leagues, paid tribute to the late outfielder by writing “RIP O.T” on his blue cap. Ventura also wrote “(hash)18,” the number that Taveras wore when he played in the minors.

“When we would play against each other, we’d go over to each other’s houses and hang out during the minor league season,” Ventura said Monday. “I consider myself a friend of his, and my thoughts are with the family and of all of those who know him.”

During the moment of silence, Taveras’ picture was shown on the large scoreboard in center field at Kauffman Stadium, where he played two games during an interleague series this summer.

Officials are still investigating the cause of Sunday’s accident on a highway in the popular tourist region of Puerto Plata. Taveras’ 18-year-old girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, was also killed when the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro he was driving crashed north of Santo Domingo.

Taveras signed with the Cardinals as an international free agent in 2008, and he rocketed through their farm system. He was ranked the No. 3 overall prospect by Baseball America prior to this season, and wound up making his big league debut and playing in 80 games.

He batted .239 with three home runs in 80 games, then delivered a pinch-hit homer that tied Game 2 of the NL Championship Series against San Francisco.

Taveras was due to travel next month to Florida, the site of the Cardinals’ spring training facility, and then continue his development in the Dominican Winter League.

“Obviously, we’re a fraternity. When you meet somebody who does what you do, you get the news obviously we got, it’s beyond heartbreaking,” Giants pitcher Jake Peavy said. “Spoke to a couple guys who played with him and sent out our regards. But yeah, just want to make this clear that we are obviously thinking about the St. Louis Cardinals and the Taveras family and our MLB family.”

St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) deflects a shot against Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) deflects a shot against Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

DALLAS (AP) — Vladimir Tarasenko missed the St. Louis Blues’ practice on Monday because he was sick.

The Dallas Stars weren’t feeling very good on Tuesday night after Tarasenko scored 1:28 into overtime to complete a hat trick and St. Louis’ 4-3 victory.

Three times Dallas took one-goal leads in regulation play, and three times the Blues tied the score. The first two tying goals came within 37 seconds of Stars scores.

St. Louis had a 4-on-3 power play after Dallas’ Tyler Seguin went off for high sticking 14 seconds into overtime. Tarasenko took a pass from Alex Pietrangelo at the top of the right faceoff circle and fired the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

“We work on it in practice sometimes, so that’s what it looked like,” Tarasenko said.

“He played at 50 percent on Saturday,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He wasn’t himself, and then to come back and play that’s pretty impressive.

Tarasenko also had an assist on Jori Lehtera’s second-period goal, and Lehtera assisted on two of Tarasenko’s goals.

“We played together in Russia, so it was fun to play on the same line every time. We have some chemistry.”

The hat trick was the 22-year-old Tarasenko’s first in the NHL. He has had five two-goal games, including one in the playoffs.

“It’s good, but thanks to my teammates for letting me do this,” Tarasenko said about his hat trick.

Dallas’ goals were by Jamie Oleksiak, Seguin and Trevor Daley. It was Oleksiak’s first career goal. Daley’s was his fourth this season on the power play.

St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott made 25 saves. Lehtonen had 23.

The Blues had failed to score on their first four power plays before Tarasenko connected. St. Louis had a 5-on-3 advantage for 53 seconds in the second period, but Dallas killed both penalties.

All of Daley’s goals this season have been on the power play. He took a pass from Alex Goligoski, settled the puck on his stick in the left faceoff circle and shot into the upper left corner of the net past Blues goalie Brian Elliott.

The goal at 3:27 of the third was only the 13th on the power play for Daley, who had no more than two in any of his first 10 seasons.

The Stars have scored on the power play in six straight games. The Blues have allowed one in five in a row.

Tarasenko’s game-tying goal at 11:37 of the third came when he took a pass from Lehtera, skated into the right circle, moved the puck to his forehand and shot past Lehtonen.

Tarasenko had countered Oleksiak’s goal at 13:10 of the first period with one at 13:45, 35 seconds later.

In the second, Seguin scored at 5:28, followed by Lehtera’s goal at 6:05, 37 seconds later.

“Giveaways,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said about St. Louis’ rapid-response goals.

“I was so impressed with the work ethic of our team, but then again, up here,” he said, pointing to his head, “hurt us. It’s my job to help them.”

Seguin, who entered the game as the NHL’s individual scoring leader, had a goal and an assist. In nine games, he has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists).

San Francisco Giants' Madison and Buster Posey celebrate after Game 5 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in San Francisco. The Giants won 5-0 to take a 3-2 lead in the series. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

San Francisco Giants’ Madison and Buster Posey celebrate after Game 5 of baseball’s World Series against the Kansas City Royals Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in San Francisco. The Giants won 5-0 to take a 3-2 lead in the series. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Buster Posey was annoyed. Playfully so. The Giants catcher wanted Madison Bumgarner to do more than barely break a smile after a brilliant pitching performance put San Francisco one win from another World Series title.

No way, Buster.

Because in this postseason full of stars and surprises, who knows? Heck, Bumgarner might still have more work to do.

Baseball took its final break Monday before the Giants and Royals settle things. Holding a 3-2 edge, San Francisco will try to claim its third championship in five years Tuesday night when the wild-card matchup resumes at Kansas City.

“We’re trying to grind this thing out, the way we have for what feels like forever now,” Jake Peavy, who starts Game 6 for the Giants, said before Monday night’s workout at Kauffman Stadium. “Not even sure of the date, the day. Doesn’t matter.”

The day off gave fans a chance to savor what they’d already seen in the past month, and there was plenty – the success of Bumgarner, Lorenzo Cain and Yusmeiro Petit, the struggles of Clayton Kershaw, Mike Trout and Detroit’s aces, a rack of tight games and one that went 18 innings.

“Clayton who? MadBum!” one man yelled as he exited AT&T Park after the Giants won 5-0 Sunday night.

Could be a lot more cooking in this October oven, too.

Maybe Ned Yost even had it right.

“Oh, man, somewhere inside of me, secretly I had hoped that it would go seven games for the excitement and the thrill of it,” the Kansas City manager said after a loss in Game 4. “Sure looks that way.”

Perhaps it’s only fitting this Fall Classic ends at Kauffman Stadium, a place hosting playoff baseball for the first time in 29 years. The Royals started this pulsating postseason at home with a 9-8 comeback win in 12 innings over Oakland in the AL wild-card game, a thriller that began on the last day of September and nearly stretched into October.

That captivating night in Kansas City set the stage for a month to remember: dramatic finishes, favorites falling and underdogs overachieving, stars slipping and new ones shining.

What happens next is anybody’s guess. After all, the last time Game 6 of the World Series came to Kansas City, one of the most surreal scenes in baseball history unfolded: first base umpire Don Denkinger’s botched call serving as the signature moment of the 1985 World Series won by the Royals over St. Louis.

“We know we can do it,” Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. “We’re a confident group. But we can’t do anything without winning Game 6. We’re excited to get back home where we feed off the fans and that energy.”

Royals rookie Yordano Ventura starts against the veteran Peavy – not exactly the matchup many would’ve predicted in April.

But the majors’ most notable names during the regular season – Dodgers ace Kershaw and Angels slugger Trout – flamed out fast in the Division Series. A trio of Cy Young winners didn’t do enough for Detroit. Injuries slowed down former Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.

Even playoff-proven starter Jon Lester looked lost under October’s bright lights for the one-and-done Athletics. Plus up-and-coming starter Stephen Strasburg showed he still has to polish his postseason poise for the Nationals.

Instead, these playoffs bred a new batch of baseball darlings: Cain and the running Royals, starter-turned-reliever Petit and a pair of blazing bullpens no longer overlooked in the World Series.

Of course, no star has burned brighter than a 25-year-old lefty from North Carolina, the one who peeved Posey with his tempered postgame reaction.

Bumgarner’s dominant performances in Game 1 and Game 5 – not to mention in every previous round of the playoffs – has put San Francisco one win away from another parade down Market Street, something Willie Mays, Barry Bonds and generations of Giants fans had dreamed of for so long.

Now it’s becoming an every-other-year tradition. And if the Giants don’t win Game 6, there’s always a chance Bumgarner could emerge from the bullpen to help out in Game 7.

Royals rookie Brandon Finnegan might understand the topsy-turvy nature of these playoffs better than anyone.

Only four months after he pitched in the College World Series, the 21-year-old reliever got two key outs in the seventh inning as Kansas City won Game 3. A night later, Finnegan failed to bridge the gap to the back end of the bullpen, allowing five runs in an 11-4 loss to San Francisco.

“Baseball can pick you up quickly,” Finnegan said, “and hit you in the gut quickly.”

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Greg Robinson didn’t start until last week. Now, the St. Louis Rams will really be leaning on the No. 2 overall pick of the draft after injuries to offensive linemen Jake Long and Rodger Saffold.

Robinson, who had been working at guard with Long at tackle, was a bit shaky after being thrust to tackle at Kansas City on Sunday. But Rams coach Jeff Fisher has full confidence in the Auburn product.

“I thought he was fine,” Fisher said. “He had some issues, they have outstanding rushers, but he was strong and stout and that’s what he does. He’ll have a week to work on the footwork and things like that this week, but he went out there and knew what to do and came out of the stack on a screen and executed a block. You can see his athletic ability when he made the tackle on the interception, but at the tackle position, he’ll be fine.”

Long signed with the Rams as a free agent before the 2013 season. Injuries have followed the 2008 first overall draft pick from Miami to St. Louis.

In the 34-7 loss to the Chiefs, Long tore the same ACL that ended his 2013 season prematurely.

“Jake he had an issue a couple of weeks ago, but last week he played really good, he played his best game to date last week, and he was off to a great start in this game,” Fisher said. “He was strong, he was stout, he was playing well. It’s just very unfortunate.”

Long’s injury happened in about the same time span – 10 months – that quarterback Sam Bradford suffered his in the preseason. Both players tore the same ACL again.

Fisher said there was no connection between the two.

“They’re unique, it’s just a coincidental thing,” Fisher said. “Our guys are top shelf, they know what they’re doing. Both guys were working hard and both knees had braces on them as well. Just kind of unusual.”

Fisher also announced that wide receiver Brian Quick will miss the rest of the season with “significant damage” to his shoulder.

Quick, the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 draft, was finally starting to live up to his promise coming out of Appalachian State. His 25 catches are currently second most on the Rams and he is the team leader in yards receiving at 375.

“He was very productive,” Fisher said. “He took advantage of all the opportunities and made tough plays, tough catches, and we’re going to miss him.”

Fisher said Quick will have to undergo surgery, but is expected to make a full recovery. The surgery has not been scheduled.

Robinson isn’t the only Southeastern Conference lineman in line to receive his first dose of extended duty in St. Louis. Injuries to Saffold and Scott Wells also thrust Barrett Jones in at center.

Jones was sidelined for most of his rookie year in 2013 due to a foot injury he suffered his senior year at Alabama. A back injury plagued him earlier this season.

“Offensively, Barrett did a nice job directing traffic and working with protections,” Fisher said. “Our breakdowns, they came just on the one-on-one battles as we were trying to get receivers out down the field.”

The injuries to Long and Quick were the worst among a myriad of medical issues the Rams left Arrowhead Stadium with.

The returns of Saffold (shoulder), Wells (elbow), Rodney McLeod (knee), William Hayes (foot) and Cody Davis (concussion) are uncertain.

“We’re going to have a number of players that will not be available for practice the middle of the week, so we’ll just kind of go day to day with them,” Fisher said.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — It’s Michael Vick’s turn. Even though it’s probably too late to save the New York Jets’ season.

Rex Ryan announced Monday that Vick will start at quarterback over Geno Smith in the Jets’ road game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

“I think this is the right decision at this time,” Ryan said, adding that it isn’t “any long-term deal or whatever.”

The Jets are mired in a seven-game skid that has them at 1-7 after a 43-23 loss in which both Smith and Vick turned the ball over three times against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” the 34-year-old Vick said. “Any time you get named to be the starter, in any profession, in professional sports, it’s a great thing. You have to relish it, but also at the same time take it extremely serious and understand what’s at stake and what needs to be done.”

Smith, in his second season, was benched in the first quarter Sunday after throwing interceptions on three consecutive possessions. Vick took over and provided a spark, leading the Jets to a touchdown on his first drive, but also committed three turnovers of his own.

“My focus is just on Kansas City and trying to find a way to get a win,” Ryan said. “That’s why this decision was made.”

Vick was 18 of 36 for 153 yards against the Bills, and also ran for a team-leading 69 yards on eight carries. But he threw one interception – and nearly had another that was ruled incomplete after being overturned by video review – and lost two fumbles.

His first start with the Jets will come against Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who helped revive the quarterback’s career in Philadelphia after he served nearly two years in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring. Vick called it “kind of ironic” and added that it isn’t exactly what he wanted, but is happy to be starting – regardless of the opponent.

“I love Andy Reid for the man that he is,” Vick said. “As far as the football game, football is football. I just want to go out there and do what’s best for the team and hopefully try to get a win.”

Smith injured his right shoulder during the game when he made a touchdown-saving tackle on his final interception, but both he and Ryan said it isn’t serious. Ryan did acknowledge Smith’s shoulder isn’t 100 percent, and Matt Simms could be activated from the practice squad if Smith isn’t available.

“They said it was minor soreness,” Smith said.

The Jets have been searching for a franchise-type quarterback since the days of Broadway Joe. Vick will become the 27th quarterback to start a game for New York since Joe Namath’s last game with the team in 1976. A few have had some good moments – Vinny Testaverde, Chad Pennington, Brett Favre and even Mark Sanchez – but none was able to sustain any level of dominance or postseason success.

Smith was given every opportunity to prove he could be that type of player after being thrust into the job when Sanchez was lost for the year during the 2013 preseason. He finished his shaky rookie season with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, but had a solid final month to give the Jets some hope.

New York signed Vick in the offseason to provide some competition for Smith, but it was clear early that it was the second-year quarterback’s job all along. Still, Smith did little to reward the Jets’ faith in him as he had seven touchdown passes and 10 interceptions in eight games.

“Have there been guys that took a step back and then took a leap forward? There have been guys like that,” Ryan said. “Hopefully that’s what happens to Geno, but I don’t think anybody in this organization is looking at him differently right now.”

Smith believes he “without a doubt” can still be a franchise quarterback.

The quarterbacks found out about the decision from Ryan after the team meeting Monday. Smith said he initially had no reaction when he was told, but added that he was frustrated and a little surprised to not be the starter this week. He also said he needed no explanation from the coach.

“That’s something that you have to expect, especially with the way I performed in the previous game,” Smith said. “It was definitely not (a performance) fitting of what I believe is the caliber of a starting quarterback. It’s something that I’ve got to work on.”

San Francisco Giants Brandon Belt bunts for a single during the second inning of Game 5 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

San Francisco Giants Brandon Belt bunts for a single during the second inning of Game 5 of baseball’s World Series against the Kansas City Royals Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pablo Sandoval debuted a leaping, celebratory twirl that came on spontaneously after another dazzling night of defense.

So what if it wasn’t quite a perfect 10 for the robust and reliable third baseman with the big grin and even bigger right arm. No doubt Sandoval has been doing everything right with his glove again this postseason.

“That was the first one,” Sandoval said of his version of the pirouette.

Sandoval, MVP of the World Series two Octobers ago, crisply made all the tough plays and emphatically celebrated each triumph in a 5-0 win Sunday night against the Kansas City Royals that gave the Giants a 3-2 World Series lead.

After completing his throw for the final out, he leapt in the air and spun his body. He then pumped a fist and jumped for that signature side bump with first baseman Brandon Belt.

Belt likes to razz Sandoval: the first baseman forces his infield mate to get his legs a bit further off the ground for their air bump.

“I don’t think so,” Sandoval said, chuckling. “I just try to celebrate everything out there after a win.”

Sandoval wasn’t the only one to show off some snazzy glove work to back Madison Bumgarner.

On a team defined by star pitchers and a hard-nosed, unflappable bullpen, San Francisco’s steady, slick defense has done so much to get this group on the cusp of another championship.

Now, the Giants must go on the road once more to try to close it out – just the way they did in 2010 at Texas and again two years later, closing out a four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers in Motown. Game 6 is Tuesday night in Kansas City, with Jake Peavy taking the ball for San Francisco and trying for his second title in two years after winning it all with Boston last season.

To begin another stellar day, Sandoval snagged Eric Hosmer’s bouncing grounder that hit the lip of the grass in front of him and suddenly stayed flat, then nabbed Hosmer at first just in time on a key play in the fourth inning.

“I love being under pressure,” Sandoval said. “It’s great the way that we’re playing the ball. I’m proud of the small things out there to make a play. That’s part of the game. One day it can go your way, one day it can go the other way.”

Moments later, Belt dazzled all on his own when he fielded a groundball by Salvador Perez and raced the Kansas City catcher to first and slid into the bag for the forceout. He called it “a little bit of a botched play” after he miscommunicated with Bumgarner.

Even shortstop Brandon Crawford has been spot on after a shaky start in Game 1 at Kauffman Stadium. He led the team with 21 errors in the regular season.

Through the ugly slumps of June and September, San Francisco has found its groove with the gloves. The Giants are making the spectacular plays and the routine ones, something their opponents have struggled to do this postseason.

“It’s one of the biggest reasons why we’re here,” Crawford said. “We’re doing the little things right, and defense is one of them.”

While Hunter Pence has the defensive highlight play in these playoffs, when he slammed his back into the right-field wall at AT&T Park to rob Washington’s Jayson Werth of extra bases, unheralded outfielders Travis Ishikawa and Gregor Blanco also have made clutch catches to thwart potential rallies.

“That’s huge for us, especially in games like this against good teams we’ve got to have plays like that,” Belt said.

The back-to-back defensive gems in Game 5 allowed Bumgarner to work most efficiently on the way to the first World Series complete-game shutout since Josh Beckett in Game 6 of the 2003 Series for the champion Marlins.

Bumgarner, who finished his four-hitter to chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” will be sure to offer a firm pat on the back to everybody behind him. It often starts with the Gold Glove candidate Kung Fu Panda at third base. He has that foursome of fans in gigantic panda hats right behind home plate cheering his every dive, stop and even an occasional awkward tumble.

The southpaw Bumgarner has done his part all postseason, yet again. The snazzy glove work has been a nice bonus.

For Bumgarner, “You want to do every little thing out there to support him, the way he’s throwing the ball is incredible,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval pumped his right fist after cleanly fielding Omar Infante’s grounder and firing to first to end the seventh. Once he scooped another Hosmer grounder and ended the game on another perfect throw to first, Sandoval could really let loose.

“He’s been good all year at third,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s made himself into one of the better third basemen in the game and that’s a credit to him and the work he put in.”

FILE  - This May 31, 2014 file photo shows St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras smiling after the Cardinals' 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants in St. Louis. Authorities say, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, Taveras has died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, file)

FILE – This May 31, 2014 file photo shows St. Louis Cardinals’ Oscar Taveras smiling after the Cardinals’ 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants in St. Louis. Authorities say, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, Taveras has died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, file)

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, a 22-year-old slugger who was regarded as one of the majors’ top prospects, died Sunday in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic.

Taveras was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro at the time of the crash on a highway between the beaches of Sosua and Cabarete in Puerto Plata, about 215 miles north of the capital of Santo Domingo, said Col. Diego Pesqueira of the Metropolitan Transportation Agency.

“He wasn’t carrying documents at the time of the accident, but his body was identified by family members,” Pesqueira said.

National police spokesman Jacobo Mateo Moquete said he was told by the mayor of Sosua that Taveras lost control of his vehicle and went off the road. Edilia Arvelo, 18, who was in the car with Taveras, also died in the accident, said Pesqueira.

Taveras made his major league debut this year. He hit .239 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 80 games for the NL Central champions.

“I simply can’t believe it,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said in a release. “I first met Oscar when he was 16 years old and will forever remember him as a wonderful young man who was a gifted athlete with an infectious love for life who lived every day to the fullest.”

Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said the organization was “stunned and deeply saddened” by Taveras’ death.

“Oscar was an amazing talent with a bright future who was taken from us well before his time,” DeWitt said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends tonight.”

Taveras was a teenager when he signed with St. Louis as an international free agent in 2008. Before this season, Taveras was ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect by and Baseball America, and had a.321 average over six minor league seasons.

He homered against the Giants’ Yusmeiro Petit in his major league debut on May 31. He also had a big solo drive in the seventh inning of Game 2 in the NL Championship Series against San Francisco.

“All of us throughout Major League Baseball are in mourning this evening,” baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said in a release.

“Oscar, a young member of the baseball family, was full of promise and at the dawn of a wonderful career in our game, evident in his game-tying home run against the Giants exactly two weeks ago.”

It looked as if Taveras was headed to the majors in 2013, but he had surgery for a high right ankle sprain last August for an injury that did not respond to treatment. He then got off to a nice start at Triple-A Memphis this season, earning a promotion by batting .325 with seven homers in 49 games.

“Oscar had a very promising future, on and off the field, and this news is heartbreaking on many levels,” Tony Clark, the leader of the players’ association, said in a statement. “It’s never easy to lose a member of our fraternity, and to lose one so young is devastating news.”

Several of Taveras’ Cardinals teammates took to Twitter to express their condolences.

“Last 30 minutes I’ve been sick to my stomach. Keep thinking about Oscar’s big smile in the dugout whenever we made a big play/got a big hit,” All-Star reliever Pat Neshek posted.

Rookie second baseman Kolten Wong tweeted: “RIP you will be missed buddy.”

Kansas City Chiefs running back De'Anthony Thomas (13) is tackled by St. Louis Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines (33) in the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

Kansas City Chiefs running back De’Anthony Thomas (13) is tackled by St. Louis Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines (33) in the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jamaal Charles shredded the Rams on a pair of touchdown runs. Knile Davis returned a kickoff 99 yards for another score. The Chiefs sacked St. Louis quarterback Austin Davis seven times.

If there was a fourth phase to football, Kansas City probably would have dominated that, too.

After spotting their cross-state rivals the first touchdown, the Chiefs turned up the pressure in every way Sunday. The result was a 34-7 victory, their sixth straight in the series dating to Sept. 24, 1994, when the Rams were still based in Los Angeles.

“Any time you play good in all three facets, you’re going to win a lot of games,” said Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, “and it felt like we did that.”

Charles, who last week became the Chiefs’ career rushing leader, powered over the left side of the line for a touchdown in the first quarter. He added a 36-yard score early in the fourth, dodging a defender at the line of scrimmage and then accelerating past the Rams’ defense.

Cairo Santos added a pair of field goals for Kansas City (4-3), including a career-best 53-yarder right before halftime. Smith was 24 of 28 for 226 yards, and Davis capped the string of 34 unanswered points with a short touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

By that point, the banged-up Rams (2-5) were just trying to survive.

“It’s disappointing,” said coach Jeff Fisher, whose team was coming off a victory over Seattle. “We had a great week, a short-lived bit of momentum, and we weren’t able to put it all together.”

Austin Davis finished 15 of 25 for 160 yards with a touchdown and an interception, three of his sacks coming at the hands of Justin Houston. It didn’t help that left tackle Jake Long, right guard Rodger Saffold and center Scott Wells sustained injuries during the game.

The Rams were also playing with an injury-depleted defensive backfield.

“You looked at the injuries they had today, they had three or four rookies starting for them on the defensive side,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s tough.”

The Rams’ running back by committee proved to be a bust, too. Benny Cunningham, Zac Stacy and Tre Mason were bottled up all game, and St. Louis managed just 84 yards on 19 carries.

“They took some things away and when that happens you’ve got to find a way to get some momentum offensively,” Davis said, “and we weren’t able to do that. But my hat really goes off to them. They did a really good job and made a lot of good plays.”

The Rams jumped to a 7-0 lead on a pass from Davis to tight end Lance Kendricks on the opening series, but everything went the Chiefs’ way the rest of the game.

Special teams had a lot to do with it.

One week after the Rams used two long returns and an audacious punt fake to beat Seattle, they watched as Greg Zuerlein missed a 38-yard field goal in the second quarter to keep the game 7-7.

Santos hit his 53-yarder for a 10-7 lead right before halftime.

The Chiefs got the ball back to start the third quarter. Knile Davis fielded the kickoff on a bounce, veered to his right and picked up a key block from James-Michael Johnson before going the rest of the way for his second career TD return.

Davis, who also had a franchise-long 108-yard kickoff return touchdown as a rookie in 2013, is the fifth player in history with a kickoff-return touchdown of at least 99 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons.

Santos added his second field-goal and Charles punctuated a big day for the offense when he took a carry up the middle, left a defender grasping for air and outran the entire secondary for his second score of the game.

Davis added a 3-yard touchdown plunge in the final minutes as chants of “Let’s Go Royals” filled Arrowhead Stadium.

“We clearly got outplayed in the second half of this game in all three phases,” Fisher said. “It wasn’t a good effort and we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Liberty_Eagles_Logo(Liberty)- The Liberty Eagles and the Houston Tigers played each other for the second time in a row as the regular season ended and the District tournament began. In this game the results were just as lopsided as the first match-up with Liberty taking the win 61-7.

The voice of the Eagles Dave Quinn has your Liberty Friday Night Football Follow-Up:

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Once again it was the Liberty Eagles with the win against the Houston Tigers 61-7. The win tonight will take the Eagles into Round two of district play.

WS FB 02-500x500(Willow Springs)- On Friday night the Willow Springs Bears hosted the Diamond Wildcats for their first round of District play. Never having played the Wildcats, the Bears entered the field unsure on how this game would go, but yet exited the field victorious with a 27-0 win.

The voice of the Bears Larry Spence has your Willow Springs Friday Night Football Follow-Up:

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Once again the final score of the night was the Willow Springs Bears over the Diamond Wildcats 27-0. The Bears win Friday night takes them into the next round of District Playoffs.