The Detroit Tigers hired Brad Ausmus as manager Sunday, turning to a 44-year-old former catcher with almost no managerial experience to replace Jim Leyland at the helm of the three-time defending AL Central champions. Ausmus, who worked most recently in the San Diego Padres’ front office as a special assistant to the general manager, emerged as Detroit’s pick less than two weeks after Leyland stepped down. ‘‘I always enjoyed the cerebral part [of the game],’’ Ausmus said. ‘‘It was much more difficult to hit — that was the part of the game I didn’t really enjoy.’’ Ausmus takes over a team that has reached the AL Championship Series three straight years and should be well-positioned for another big season in 2014. Ausmus managed Israel’s team in the World Baseball Classic, but he’s inexperienced as a manager. Ausmus played in the majors from 1993-2010. The Tigers acted boldly in hiring the Dartmouth-educated Ausmus, whose name also surfaced recently in connection with the Cubs’ job . . . The Rakuten Eagles beat the Yomiuri Giants, 3-0, in Game 7 of the Japan Series in Sendai to win their first championship. A day after throwing 160 pitches in a complete-game loss in Game 6, Masahiro Tanaka threw 15 more pitches to get the save in Game 7. The Red Sox are among several MLB teams scouting Tanaka and are expected to bid if the Eagles post him.
Johnson finishes strong for WGC win
Against an all-world cast of contenders, Dustin Johnson pulled away with power and a clutch putt to win his first World Golf Championship in Shanghai. Johnson played a pivotal five-hole stretch on the back nine in 5 under par, seizing control by pitching in for eagle on the par-4 16th. He followed with an 8-foot birdie putt on 17 and closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-shot win over Ian Poulter (66) in the HSBC Champions. Johnson set a tournament record at 24-under 264. Graeme McDowell also had a 66 to finish third. Sergio Garcia, who birdied half of his holes for a 63, finished fourth. Johnson has won in each of his first seven seasons on the PGA Tour, the most by any player since Tiger Woods in his first 14 seasons through 2009 . . . Fred Couples closed with a 2-under 69 for a six-stroke victory over Bernhard Langer (67), Peter Senior (69), and Mark O'Meara (70) in the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in San Francisco. Kenny Perry shot a 68 to tie for fifth, good enough to top the yearlong points race to earn a $1 million annuity. Couples finished at 17-under 267.
Dynamo and Red Bulls call it a draw
Ricardo Clark and Omar Cummings scored in the second half to lead host Houston back from a two-goal halftime deficit, lifting the Dynamo into a 2-2 tie against the top-seeded New York Red Bulls in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The second match is Wednesday at New York. Cummings, a second-half substitute, tied it in the 92d minute when he tapped the ball in from just outside the net. Bobby Boswell’s header was stopped by New York goalkeeper Luis Robles, but Cummings sent the rebound inside the near post. Clark scored in the 51st minute when New York was unable to clear the ball away and he sent it through traffic and inside the near post . . . Sean Franklin scored on a dramatic 27-yard strike just after halftime, and the Los Angeles Galaxy opened their run at a third straight championship with a 1-0 victory over visiting Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference semifinals. Franklin’s first goal in more than five months provided a small advantage for the Galaxy when the clubs head to Utah for Thursday’s second leg.
Masterful Djokovic rolls over Ferrer
Novak Djokovic beat defending champion David Ferrer, 7-5, 7-5, to win the Paris Masters for his 17th straight match victory and sixth title of the season. The second-seeded Serb still has a slim chance to finish the season ranked ahead of No. 1 Rafael Nadal. Djokovic improved to 11-5 against Ferrer, who was looking to become the first player to win back-to-back Paris Masters titles. Americans Bob and Mike Bryan beat Alexander Peya of Austria and Bruno Soares of Brazil, 6-3, 6-3, to win their 11th doubles title of the season . . . Italy won its fourth Fed Cup title, sweeping past Russia, 4-0, in Cagliari, Sardinia. No. 7-ranked Sara Errani cruised past Alisa Kleybanova, 6-1, 6-1, before Flavia Pennetta and Karin Knapp beat Margarita Gasparyan and Irina Khromacheva, 4-6, 6-2, 10-4. Errani needed less than an hour to win against the No. 183-ranked Kleybanova, who only recently returned to the circuit following treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma . . . Simona Halep won the season-ending Tournament of Champions in Sofia, Bulgaria, defeating Samantha Stosur, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2, for her sixth career title.
No letup by Vettell in Formula One
World champion Sebastian Vettel won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in dominant fashion to clinch a seventh straight victory and 11th of the season. The German clinched his fourth consecutive world title at the Indian GP last weekend. Starting from second on the grid, Vettel overtook his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber on the first turn and was untroubled after that . . . Mackensie MacEachern had a pair of goals and Will Yanakeff made 26 saves to lead Michigan State (3-3-0) to a 4-0 hockey victory over AIC in East Lansing, Mich. Freshman Hunter Leisner, making his first collegiate start, turned aside 36 shots for the Yellow Jackets (1-3).