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  1. If you live in the United State Authentic Elandon Roberts Jersey , you probably noticed that midterm elections took place yesterday (you probably also noticed if you live abroad). While Pats Pulpit is no political outlet, we do cover developments regarding the New England Patriots and one such happened yesterday when former Patriot Anthony Gonzalez won his election to represent Ohio’s 16th congressional district in the House of Representatives.Gonzalez, who originally entered the NFL as a first-round draft pick by the Indianapolis Colts in 2007, came to New England as a free agent in March 2012. However, he never actually appeared in a game for the team as he was released by the Patriots just two months after joining them. The Ohio State product subsequently decided to end his career in professional football and instead earn his MBA at Stanford.In September 2017, Gonzalez announced his bid trying to fill a vacant House seat in his home state. With the help of donations from former Colts teammates Peyton Manning and Austin Collie — he himself also a short-time member of the Patriots —, the 34-year old was able to win the Republican nomination. Yesterday, Gonzalez defeated his Democratic opponent with a rather convincing 56.8%.Gonzalez is not the first ex-Patriot player to go into politics after his retirement. Former New England safety James Mildren, who was with the team in 1974 Authentic Trent Brown Jersey Salute to Service , served as Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma from 1991 to 1995 representing the Democratic Party. On the other end of the political spectrum, Ex-Patriots running back Craig James (1984-1988) unsuccessfully tried to become the Republican nominee for a vacant Senate seat in 2012.Ex-Patriots defender Rob Ninkovich thinks that Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is “just a bigger receiver” that “doesn’t want to block” The upcoming game between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs offers plenty of intrigue. One of the most talked about battles is one that does not even take place simultaneously: the one between tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce. The two Pro Bowlers are arguably the two best players in the NFL at their position – but there is little doubt about who is number one, at least when you ask Rob Ninkovich.The former Patriots defender, who retired last offseason, recently joined XTRA 1360 in San Diego to talk about Gronkowski and Kelce. For Ninkovich, however, it isn’t much of a debate about who is the better tight end between the two: “I would take Gronk,” the two-time world champion told hosts Nick Hardwick and Judson Richards. “I’ve played against Kelce, and I’ve thrown him around like he’s a little doll.”Ninkovich continued criticizing Kelce’s abilities as a blocker: “The guy doesn’t want to block. When you’re a tight end and you don’t want to block Adrian Clayborn Jersey Salute to Service , you’re not really a tight end.” But despite the alleged deficiencies when it comes to blocking – and those allegations have some merit –, Kelce has been a productive player. Last regular season alone, he caught 83 passes for 1,038 and eight touchdowns.Catching passes is only one part of a tight end’s profile, though, as Ninkovich pointed out during his radio appearance. “I would take Rob based on the fact that he can block,” the ex-linebacker said. “You see him running wham blocks, and you see him running all the different types of route combinations, plus motioning in to crack people. He’s willing and able to do a lot of things that a true tight end does well Kenny Britt Jersey Salute to Service , and he does it exceptionally well.”Ninkovich continued by calling Gronkowski the best tight end to ever play the game – and his blocking abilities were a big reason for the defender feeling this way. Kelce, meanwhile, was labeled differently. “Kelce is just a bigger receiver. That guy doesn’t want to block,” Ninkovich said before adding that despite not playing in over a year, he still felt as if he could easily beat the Chiefs’ tight end in a run block situation right now.But no matter Kelce’s blocking abilities or the name of his position, one thing still remains unchanged: he is a dangerous player in the passing game, and one Kansas City knows how to use. The Patriots defense will need to find a way to slow him down on Sunday – no matter if he is treated as a tight end or a wide receiver.
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    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Don Yee Limited Duron Harmon Jersey , the agent for Tom Brady and other NFL stars, and three-time Super Bowl champion Ed McCaffrey will head Pacific Pro Football, a league that will provide an alternative path to the NFL that has never existed.Pacific Pro Football announced Monday that it is scheduled to begin play in July 2020 with four teams in Southern California. It will allow players to play professionally directly out of high school, with the average salary and benefits totaling $50,000 for a two-month season.Yee said the NFL is the only major sport in the world that doesn’t have any kind of developmental system. The widening divergence between styles of play in college and the NFL means some college players aren’t necessarily being trained for the pro game, he added.Pacific Pro Football will be similar to the NBA’s G League. McCaffrey will be commissioner and former NFL Network vice president Jamie Hemann will be CEO.“There is a growing realization and concern, actually, in the NFL, all the way from ownership on down, that the growing divergence between the college product and the NFL product is a problem Lawrence Guy Jersey ,” Yee said in a phone interview Monday. “There also is a realization that is somewhat anomalous, that the NFL product doesn’t have any kind of hand in any kind of developmental system.”He pointed to Sunday’s AFC wild-card game in which the Los Angeles Chargers beat Baltimore 23-17 by frustrating and harassing Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. With the former Louisville star leading the way, the Ravens went on a tear late in the regular season by combining a time-consuming ground game with the league’s top-ranked defense. The Ravens beat the Chargers 22-10 on Dec. 22, but Los Angeles quickly figured out a way to bottle up Jackson in the rematch.“There are fantastic athletes like Lamar Jackson, who excelled in college in a particular system, but once he reaches a different style of game and play, you can see it’s going to take a little while to properly train him playing a different style,” Yee said. “What we hope to do is accelerate that learning curve.”Yee said concern about the divergent styles between college and the NFL is shared by some college players and their parents, and that playing at a four-year college isn’t necessarily the best or only path to the NFL.“It should be OK for a young man to simply want to be a good football player, no different than if a young man or woman simply wanted to be a good engineer Authentic David Andrews Jersey Salute to Service ,” Yee said. “Any kind of ambition is honorable.”Yee said he anticipates that in the first year, most of the league’s players will have already played some college football. He added that there are high school players who are good enough to play three years with Pacific Pro Football and then make the jump to the NFL.“We view it as, this league will be the best of the best, and what I mean is we will not make an employment offer to any player unless we strongly believe that player has a professional football future,” he said.The projected annual average salary and benefits will be $50,000, and the league will negotiate separately with every player depending on perceived market value, Yee said. He said he couldn’t yet identify the league’s investors.Once a player becomes eligible to apply for the NFL draft, he will term out of Pacific Pro Football, Yee said. Players are eligible for the NFL three years removed from their high school graduating class.The league will play in July and August. Plans call for teams in San Diego Limited Steve Grogan Jersey , Orange and Los Angeles counties, with games played at community colleges.Yee said the league will offer one year of free junior college tuition to each player, and teams will have counselors to offer advice on post-playing careers.Most of the league’s players in the first year will have already played some college football, Yee said.Besides Brady, Yee also represents Julian Edelman, Jimmy Garoppolo and Saints coach Sean Payton.McCaffrey recently stepped down as the head coach at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. He won a Super Bowl championship with San Francisco in 1994 and two more with Denver in 1997 and 1998. Of his four sons, Max is a wide receiver with the 49ers, Christian is a running back and return specialist for the Carolina Panthers and Dylan is a quarterback at Michigan.“Our league will be fun for players and fans, and fans will see the best of the next generation of stars Trey Flowers Jersey ,” McCaffrey said in a statement.FOX Fantasy AutoForm a Racing Team, Compete for PrizesPlay Now! TEAM TALKPats-Bears Thursday Injury Report.Press Conference Transcript: Devin McCourty. Press Conference: Dont’a Hightower (3.25 min. video)What they’re saying: Chicago Bears.Don Banks makes his Week 7 picks. Winner: New England.LOCAL LINKSKevin Duffy talks about Bill Belichick’s new team-building approach that’s been bringing the Patriots together.Mike Dussault (PatsPropaganda) Patriots gameplan: Week 7 vs. Chicago.Steve Balestrieri (PatsFans) Who are the key players to watch in Patriots-Bears Week 7? 1. LaAdrian Waddle.David Albiani (FullPressCoverage) Patriots vs. Bears: What to watch for in Week Seven: 1. Will Khalil Mack play?Andrew Callahan notes the Patriots have a simple game plan for winning their first game on the road.Andrew Callahan doesn’t think Khalil Mack is the biggest threat the Pats will face on Sunday.Johnny Maffei (FullPressCoverage) Patriots Week Seven: Three stats to know. 1. 14-3: Tom Brady has a career record of 14-3 against the NFC North.Phil Perry looks at the numbers to show how Julian Edelman has transformed the Patriots offense.Phil Perry says Sony Michel’s production is surging but he still has a ways to go.Zack Cox highlights how the Patriots interception streak is paying dividends for the offense.Kevin Duffy notes the Patriots defenders are seeing a positive trend.Mark Daniels reports Stephon Gilmore credits his study habits for aiding his improved play.Doug Kyed hears from Dont’a Hightower that he’s been encouraged by his weekly improvement on defense.Doug Kyed addresses his Patriots Mailbag: Who are New England’s seven most indispensable players?Zack Cox Patriots Notes: New England could face shorthanded Bears team.Kevin Duffy gives us an injury update, noting Marcus Cannon missed his second-consecutive practice.Logan Mullen wonders if LB Marquis Flowers could return to New England.Mike Reiss writes about how three generations of the Karras family are connected by Super Bowl rings.Jim Lazar has some suggestions for the Pats to win on the road and makes his Week 7 picks. Pats 32-20.Eric Wilbur offers roundup of what the experts are predicting for Pats-Bears on Sunday.NATIONAL NEWSKevin Clark (The Ringer) The four must-see matchups for NFL Week 7: Bill Belichick vs. Mitchell Trubisky.Robert Mays (The Ringer) The eight best players of the 2018 NFL season so far. Khalil Mack included.Bill Barnwell (ESPN) Predicting the NFL’s next record-breakers: Who will top Drew Brees?Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz and Nate Davis (USA Today) Seven questions for NFL Week 7: Will another record be broken?Will Brinson (CBS Sports) NFL Week 7 QB Power Rankings. Brady 4th.Herbie Teope (NFL.com) Pats’ Rob Gronkowski not upset over red-zone targets.Nate Davis (USA Today) 32 things that made the NFL fun again in 2018.Staff (ESPN) Biggest injury questions for all 32 teams in Week 7. Patriots: Marcus Cannon.Charean Williams (ProFootballTalk) Report: NFL fines Raiders for violating its injury report policy.Around the NFL (NFL.com) NFL reveals logo, celebration plans for 100th season.Albert Breer (SI) The do-nothing approach that resolved the NFL’s anthem crisis.MMQB Staff (SI) NFL Week 7 game picks. Six of seven pick Pats to win.Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) PFT’s Week 7 picks. Florio: Pats 30-21, MDS: Pats 27-20.Elliot Harrison (NFL.com) NFL Week 7 game picks: Pats 26-22.
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    Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle was going through his usual routine Monday Authentic Richard Rodgers Jersey , preparing if needed for a save, when general manager Mike Rizzo sought him out. Rizzo wanted to discuss two things: The Nationals were trading for two-time All-Star reliever Kelvin Herrera, and Doolittle was going to keep his ninth-inning job. Getting a jump on the trade deadline, the Nationals picked up right-hander Herrera from the Kansas City Royals for three minor leaguers, adding him to a back end of the bullpen that already includes the lefty Doolittle and righties Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler. ”It’s almost their way of saying, `Here’s some help. Here’s some reinforcements.’ I think it’s one of those situations where you can’t have too many options down there,” Doolittle said. ”You get a guy who’s pitched in every high-leverage role from the seventh inning on. He’s won a World Series. … We’re planning on playing some really meaningful games down the stretch and making a run into the playoffs. We’re gonna need some help. I think it’s awesome.” As for the effect on his role, which the Nationals say won’t change, Doolittle called it ”definitely a confidence boost” to hear that it’s ”still my job.” ”You want to add some stuff, but you don’t want to have too many cooks in the kitchen,” Doolittle said. ”It’s not necessarily that guys are super-attached to their roles, but they like to know what to expect – when they’re going to pitch in a game Authentic Joseph Noteboom Jersey , when to get ready, that sort of stuff.” The Nationals sent infielder Kelvin Gutierrez, outfielder Blake Perkins and 17-year-old pitcher Yohanse Morel to Kansas City in the deal announced during Washington’s doubleheader against the New York Yankees. Gutierrez heads to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Perkins will be assigned to Class A Wilmington, and Morel goes to rookie ball. Herrera has 14 saves and a 1.05 ERA this season. He’s allowed three earned runs in 25 2/3 innings while striking out 22 batters and walking two. ”It’s just a moment you don’t want to see,” Herrera said about leaving his only major league home. ”It’s always hard. I was born and raised (as) a player here.” The 28-year-old helped Kansas City win the 2015 World Series – and is among the last players left from that title team. He is 23-27 with 57 saves and a 2.75 ERA across 442 games in relief over eight seasons in the majors. ”We’ve known Kelvin since he signed with us when he was 16 years old. He’s one of the very best competitors that I’ve ever been around, probably that this organization has seen,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. ”Without him, there is no way we can ever make it to the World Series, win a World Series.” Kintzler, the usual seventh-inning man for Washington, went on the disabled list June 10 with a right forearm flexor strain Authentic Brian Allen Jersey , and Madson spent time on the DL earlier this season. Madson was a teammate of Herrera’s on the 2015 champions. ”He’s a bulldog,” Madson said. ”I take it with welcoming arms. Let the old horse rest a little bit.” Instead of waiting to make moves at the July 31 non-waiver deadline, the Nationals opted to strike now. They are the two-time reigning NL East champions but have never won a postseason series. Washington also currently stands in second place in the division, entering Monday 3 games behind the Atlanta Braves. The Royals, meanwhile, are way out of contention in the AL Central in last place and 22-49 going into the day. They already shipped Jon Jay to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a pair of minor leaguers earlier in June. ”We’d like to be holding onto our players longer,” Moore said, ”but where we are in the standings and what we’re faced with and how we’re playing, if we can get the right move, it’s important to move.” — AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta and freelancer Alan Eskew in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report. — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was no more forthcoming on Monday about his surprise benching of one-time Super Bowl star Malcolm Butler. Speaking on a conference call the day after the Patriots blew their chance at a sixth NFL title with a 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Authentic John Kelly Jersey , Belichick said ”there are a lot of things that go into that.” He declined to be specific. Butler’s interception in the end zone in the final minute of the Super Bowl against Seattle clinched New England’s 2014 NFL championship. He had been one of the Patriots’ steadiest players this season, appearing in 98 percent of the defensive snaps and starting 17 of 18 games this season. But the defensive back made it on the field for only one play on Sunday – on special teams. He appeared to be crying during the national anthem. And after the game, he told ESPN, that he ”could have changed that game.” Belichick said on Monday: ”I respect Malcolm’s competitiveness, and I’m sure that he felt like he could have helped. I’m sure other players felt the same way.” Butler was not available to the media after the team’s buses returned to their home stadium on Monday afternoon. Only a few dozen fans were waiting to greet them. Only one player commented, defensive lineman Eric Lee. ”That doesn’t concern me at all,” he said when asked about Butler’s benching. ”I’m the wrong person to talk to about that.” Butler’s locker had unopened packages loaded in front of it. On the shelves were game balls; at the bottom was a stack of cleats. Butler is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He’s one of many holes the team would need to fill from a defense that gave up 538 yards in the Super Bowl. Another is defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who was hired as the head coach of the Detroit Lions on Monday. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is expected to get the top job in Indianapolis this week. Belichick and owner Robert Kraft are also scheduled to meet to clear the air over the trade of Jimmy Garoppolo that left the Patriots without a successor to 40-year-old Tom Brady at quarterback.
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    Hal Steinbrenner says his New York Yankees may need a starting pitching upgrade if they’re going to reach their first World Series since 2009. Steinbrenner Colton Sissons Jersey , the Yankees managing general partner, said Wednesday the club will explore the trade market for an arm, especially considering the recent loss of left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who had season-ending Tommy John surgery on June 7. The Yankees entered Wednesday with the best record in baseball, narrowly ahead of AL East rival Boston. The club has space to acquire an impact player and still remain under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold, a goal the team has stated several times. ”Clearly starting pitching was always a concern,” Steinbrenner said, speaking to a small group of reporters at an owners’ meeting. ”It’s definitely one of the areas we’re going to be looking at. ”Purposely left a decent amount of money for just this,” he added. ”If we decide to go get a pitcher and if a pitcher’s available, I think we definitely have the flexibility that would allow me to do just that.” Cole Hamels, Chris Archer and Madison Bumgarner are among the biggest names that could potentially be available at the deadline, but they would likely cost one or more of New York’s blue-chip prospects. Steinbrenner wants to be cautious about moving high-ceiling youngsters to beef up the rotation. ”It depends what the asks are. I mean, I love the young guys,” he said. ”Our fans love the young guys Shawn Williams Jersey , and I think it’s obvious to all of us. They’ve made a heck of an impact, and to see Gleyber (Torres) and (Miguel) Andujar and others, you know, right off the heels of (Aaron) Judge and (Gary) Sanchez and (Luis) Severino, I mean it’s pretty amazing.” The team does have internal options, and Steinbrenner said he’s willing to stick by some young, untested pitchers if needed. Jonathan Loaisiga will make his major league debut Friday, rookie Domingo German has held his own in six starts, and prospects Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams and Erik Swanson could get looks later this year, too. ”We’ve got some options for August, September, but again, we’re going to look at anything that comes across our desk Youth Jordan Akins Jersey ,” Steinbrenner said. OFF AND RUNNING Steinbrenner praised first-year manager Aaron Boone, pleased with his performance thus far despite the rookie manager having no professional coaching experience prior to the season. ”Everything we could ask for. Calm, cool, collected,” Steinbrenner said. ”Players have a lot of respect for him. He’s been great in the clubhouse and he’s been great with his coaching staff, and the coaches he’s brought in have been good so I mean it’s as advertised.” NO WORRIES Giancarlo Stanton has been good, but not great, in his first year with the Yankees. He entered Wednesday batting .240 with 14 homers, 34 RBIs and a .797 OPS – compared to a 1.007 OPS when he won the NL MVP Award last season. Steinbrenner believes New York’s marquee offseason acquisition will crank up his production soon, though. ”He’s had ups and downs, but when he gets hot, he’ll carry a team,” Steinbrenner said. ”We’ve all seen that and it will happen. Work ethic is great. Worked his way right into the clubhouse in a great way, teammates like him Youth Darius Leonard Jersey , so he’s going to be great.” NOT-SO-FRIENDLY SKIES New York has had eight games either postponed or suspended by poor weather already this season. If that wasn’t enough of an inconvenience, they’ve also encountered their share of travel snafus- which included having to spend a night at Dulles International Airport in mid-May due to weather and a problem with the plane. As an experienced pilot himself, Steinbrenner understands that air travel can be an inexact science. ”We all fly commercial and even small jets, even my plane has problems from time to time and I fly a dinky little propeller plane,” he said. ”So you start to get into these airliners, I mean they’re complex from the avionics to the life support systems to the engines to the hydraulics. They’re just complicated machines. … It’s obviously air transportation, very reliable and very safe. But it’s very safe and very reliable because they don’t take a plane up if it’s not close to a hundred percent, right?” — TORONTO — Toronto Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ will take the mound against Luis Severino on Saturday in a repeat of the Opening Day matchup won by the New York Yankees. With the July 31 deadline for trades without waivers looking, Happ is considered a prime candidate to be dealt and the Yankees would be one of the interested teams, according to speculation. The possibility of Severino (13-2, 1.98 ERA) and Happ (10-4, 4.03) soon becoming teammates adds another intriguing dimension to their matchup in the second game of a three-game series at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays started the series with a 6-2 victory Friday night with Justin Smoak capping a five-run second inning with a three-run homer. The Yankees (56-29) are 7-4 against the Blue Jays (41-46) in the season series so far, including a 4-3 record at the Rogers Centre as they complete their third and final series of the season there this weekend. The win Friday ended the Blue Jays’ four-game losing streak against the Yankees. Severino is an obvious choice for the All-Star Game to be played at Washington’s Nationals Park on July 17. Happ is one of the few Blue Jays with a legitimate chance to go to the game. Severino will be a leading candidate to win the American League Cy Young Award if he continues his current pace. He leads the majors in wins and is second in ERA. The 24-year-old enters Saturday with a scoreless streak of 13 2/3 innings. He has allowed three runs or fewer in 15 straight starts, the longest such streak by a Yankees pitcher since Ron Guidry had a 15-game streak April 8-June 22 Muhammad Wilkerson Jersey , 1978. The only longer streak by a Yankee is 20 set by Russ Ford during the 1910 and 1911 seasons. “I always feel great when Sevy’s on the mound,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “The record in a lot of ways speaks for itself. The ability to get deep into games. He’s been really good against the elite competition, it seems like, as well. “He’s putting himself in that conversation as one of the best in the game. There’s no doubt about it.” Severino is 2-3 with a 4.12 ERA in nine career games (eight starts) against the Blue Jays and 2-0 with a 0.71 ERA in two starts against them this season. In five career starts at the Rogers Centre, he is 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA. Happ had his worst start of the season Sunday when he allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings in a 9-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers. He did not allow a run until the fifth when Nicholas Castellanos did most of the damage with a grand slam. “I felt like I was a pitch away from getting out of it,” Happ said after the game. “Again, I look at the hard-hit balls and there was two or three today. I didn’t feel like I was in the middle of the zone getting hurt today, but it is what it is. It’s not a pretty outing.” His only start against the Yankees this season was a loss on Opening Day, March 29, when he allowed three runs (two earned) in 4 2/3 innings as Severino picked up the win. In 17 career starts against the Yankees, he is 8-3 with a 3.53 ERA. The Yankees have lost five of their past seven road games and are 23-16 in away games this season. They are 7-8 when visiting American League East cities this season. The Blue Jays are 13-20 against AL East teams. They are 4-3 on their homestand and are 23-22 at home for the season.
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    The Minnesota Twins head into the weekend riding high after taking consecutive series from Cleveland and Boston but could be shorthanded Friday night when they open a three-game set with the Texas Rangers at Target Field. Eduardo Escobar left in the fourth inning of Minnesota’s 9-2 loss to the Red Sox Thursday after he took a Rick Porcello fastball to the right elbow. The AL leader with 32 doubles this season Eagles Markus Wheaton Jersey , Escobar has been red-hot this month, batting .386 with an .800 slugging percentage in 70 June at-bats. Manager Paul Molitor said Escobar would be re-evaluated Friday. “He’s sore and swollen,” Molitor said. “I think it got the bottom of the triceps more than on the elbow. We tried to see if he was able to continue, and he gave it a go, but you could tell he was having trouble swinging in that second at-bat.” Eddie Rosario was scratched prior to the game Thursday with soreness in his right shoulder. He leads the team with 16 homers this season and has been having a good month as well, batting .357 with a .757 slugging percentage. Rosario said he’d be back in the lineup against Texas and Molitor admitted resting the 26-year-old was a precautionary move. “I just think we’re trying to keep the big picture in mind,” Molitor said. “So, we’re gonna back him off. It’s just one of those things where you think what you’re doing is best for the player for the long term.” The Twins are already without second baseman Miguel Sano, who was optioned to Class A Fort Meyers to work on hitting the slider Eagles Avonte Maddox Jersey , and center fielder Byron Buxton, whose fractured toe has shown improvement but not enough to return from a minor league rehab assignment. Missing all that firepower will leave right-hander Fernando Romero a much smaller margin for error as he takes the mound for his 10th career start. Romero has cooled off since going 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA through his first four big league outings, going 1-2 with a 6.46 ERA over his last five. That number is somewhat skewed by an eight-run disaster at Kansas City back on May 30, but Romero’s strikeout rate has plummeted from 9.11 per nine innings to 5.95 over his last four starts. “Gosh, there’s still a lot to like,” Molitor said. “The way that he’s been able to get the ball on the ground pretty consistently, especially the way he can get in on righties.” In his first start against Texas, Romero will face a Rangers’ lineup that is feeling good after sweeping the Royals earlier in the week and has won five in a row overall. Rougned Odor has been a catalyst for the Rangers’ recent success. He was hitting .169 exactly one month ago but has batted .267 with a .761 OPS in the 26 games since to raise his average to .226. “I believe he’s progressively gotten better,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “He’s showed progress where we need him to show progress. Odor has been a significant player on this team and will continue to be a significant player.” Left-hander Mike Minor gets the start for Texas. He held the Rockies to two runs over seven innings in his last outing Eagles Josh Sweat Jersey , giving him a second consecutive quality start for the first time since earning six in a row for the Braves back during the 2014 season. Friday will mark Minor’s first career start against the Twins. TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays continue to wait for the return of third baseman Josh Donaldson from tightness in his left calf. He did not play in the opener of the three-game series against the Washington Nationals on Friday night, a 6-5 Toronto win, and he is not expected to play in the second game on Saturday at the Rogers Centre. The Nationals (37-29) will start right-hander Max Scherzer (10-2, 2.00 ERA), and the Blue Jays (31-38) will start right-hander Marco Estrada (3-5, 4.33). Scherzer is 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in eight career starts against the Blue Jays. A sixth-round draft pick by the Nationals in 2005, Estrada is 2-1 with a 4.34 ERA in six career starts against Washington. Meanwhile, Yangervis Solarte, the player who often fills in at third for Donaldson when he is not playing shortstop or second base 49ers Weston Richburg Jersey , did well Friday night. Solarte hit two home runs against the Nationals — a two-run shot and a solo blast — and added a double. He became the ninth Blue Jays batter to hit home runs from each side of the plate in a game. It is the second time in his career that the switch-hitter has homered from each side of the plate in a game. He has 14 homers and 40 RBIs for the season. By defeating Washington starter Gio Gonzalez, who allowed a season-high five runs in six-plus innings, the Blue Jays ended a streak of 11 straight losses when opposing a left-handed starter. It was the longest such streak in franchise history. Their previous long drought against left-handed starter was eight losses in a row in 1993. Donaldson was eligible to return from the disabled list a week ago but has not played because he has been unable to run well enough during drills at the Rogers Centre on Thursday, an off-day in the schedule. “I was here watching him (Thursday) when he was running the bases, and he still couldn’t cut it loose,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “That’s all I’ve got. He’s feeling better, but he’s still a little bit hesitant.” He has been on the DL since May 29. The Blue Jays are 6-9 in the games he has missed. He probably will need a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Buffalo before returning. “I think he needs to go down and at least play a game and test it,” Gibbons said. “Game-like conditions. I think that would be smart.” The Nationals lost first baseman Matt Adams when he took a pitch off his left index finger on a foul bunt attempt in the second inning. He finished the at-bat and struck out. He played in the field in the bottom of the second before being replaced by Mark Reynolds. The finger was swollen and will be re-evaluated Saturday. “It’s just part of the game, stuff like this happens 49ers Cassius Marsh Jersey ,” Adams said. “Come in tomorrow and get some treatment and see how it feels.” The Nationals did have some good news from the game Friday. Daniel Murphy picked up his first hit of the season, an RBI single in the eighth. It was his third game after being sidelined following right knee surgery. The Nationals came back Friday with two runs in the eighth after falling behind 6-3 in the seventh and had the potential tying run at third in the ninth. “I like the way that we didn’t give up, came back, and we had a chance to tie the game at the end,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.
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    Jimmy Garoppolo signed a record-breaking Womens Mattias Ekholm Jersey , five-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers that will pay him a reported $137.5 million to keep him off the free-agent market without forcing the team to use the one-year franchise tag. NFL Network first reported the terms of the contract, which is worth $27.5 million per season to top the previous record set by Detroit’s Matthew Stafford last year by $500,000 per year. San Francisco acquired Garoppolo from New England before the trade deadline for a 2018 second-round pick. As soon as he took the field a few weeks later, he immediately turned around a franchise that started the year with a 1-10 record. Garoppolo took over as starter and led San Francisco to five straight wins to end the season. That solidified the organization’s belief in him and the willingness to offer him the largest average per year contract in NFL history. While Garoppolo lacks the track record of the top quarterbacks in the NFL after spending most of his career as Tom Brady’s backup with New England, what he has shown when he has gotten on the field has been impressive. He completed 67.4 percent of his passes this season, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with seven TDs, five interceptions and a 96.2 rating. Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts last season, Garoppolo ranked first in yards per attempt, fourth in completion percentage. His 308.4 yards passing per game in his five starts also would have led the league had he played a full season. BASEBALL NEW YORK (AP) – The baseball players’ union will open its own spring training camp for the first time since the end of the 1994-95 strike, inviting free agents to work out at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Union head Tony Clark said Thursday the camp will open Tuesday and workouts will start the following day under Bo Porter, the Houston Astros’ manager in 2013-14. The camp is scheduled to run through March 4, and the union has the option to extend the camp through the end of the month. More than 100 players who exercised their right to become free agents last November are without final agreements. Teams start spring training workouts next Wednesday. Agent Scott Boras represents 15 free agents seeking jobs, a group that includes J.D. Martinez, Mike Moustakas P.K Subban Jersey , Eric Hosmer and Jake Arrieta. His company has its own training facilities in North Miami, Florida, and Newport Beach, California, and he is not sure whether his clients will work out at his facilities or IMG. ”They certainly will have the option to use either,” he said. The union sent an email to agents announcing the decision. The camp will be open to the players who became free agents under Article XXB of the sport’s collective bargaining agreement, the most prominent group on the market. ”The location is a dedicated, major league-caliber site, with multiple full/half fields, a private locker room, dedicated training staff and an advanced workout facility with a trainer and strength and conditioning coordinator,” the union said. Personal trainers will not be allowed inside the facility. Players will be provided workout gear, and the union is arranging liability insurance, travel and housing. Players will be given per diems. They are to bring their own bats and shoes. AUTO RACING AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) – With Scott Dixon at the wheel Authentic Pekka Rinne Jersey Kids , the prototype for a windscreen to help protect IndyCar drivers from flying debris passed its first on-track test, a big step toward requiring such devices, perhaps as early as next year. ”I think it’s definitely a milestone as far as moving forward and moving in the right direction for some more safety initiatives, and we all know the reasons why,” the four-time IndyCar series champion said. The only real problem for Dixon was the lack of air flow made things quite warm. But he described that as ”an easy fix.” ”The cooling thing we kind of knew,” Dixon said, ”but we just didn’t want to deal with it right now.” Jeff Horton, IndyCar director of engineering and safety and head of the windscreen project, was happy with the results. ”When a guy like Scott gets out, a veteran of ours, and says there’s no deal breakers, a couple of small things to look at, what better could you ask for,” Horton said. The windscreen wouldn’t prevent all flying-debris accidents since material still could sail over the front of the screen or come in on top of the driver, who otherwise is protected only by a helmet. Driver Justin Wilson died in August 2015 of injuries he sustained when he was struck by flying debris in an IndyCar race at Pocono Raceway. But IndyCar officials see the windscreen as potentially a big improvement in safety. With more testing to be done Andy Dalton Jersey , the screen probably wouldn’t be required on the circuit until 2019 at the earliest. NEW YORK — The Atlanta Braves have fared well against teams with winning records so far this season and this week will test their success. The first stop for the Braves will be a visit to Yankee Stadium for the opener of a three-game interleague series with the New York Yankees on Monday night. Atlanta (48-34) heads to New York after completing a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with a 6-5 victory on Sunday. Mike Foltynewicz pitched five one-hit innings and the Braves improved to 30-19 against teams with winning records, which is the best mark in the National League. Only the Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros are performing better against winning opponents. Atlanta begins a stretch of 16 of 18 games against teams with winning records. After visiting Yankee Stadium for the first time since June 2012, the Braves visit Milwaukee for four games next weekend and host the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 13-15. Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer Sunday. He is 9-for-52 (.173) in his last 12 games. “It’s coming,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker told reporters after Freeman hit his 16th homer of the season. “Somebody’s going to pay. It’s just one of those things that everybody goes through. “He’s working, and we still have unbelievable confidence in him and what he brings. You feel like he’s going to do something special every time he goes up there.” The Yankees also will get their first looks at rookie outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. and second baseman Ozzie Albies. Acuna went 4-for-13 in the weekend series after missing a month with a mild ACL sprain and contusion in his left knee and also a lower back contusion. The 20-year-old is batting .269 with six homers and 15 RBIs in his first 32 games. Albies enters with a .275 average and on an 11-game hitting streak. During the longest streak of his career, he is batting .431 (22-for-51). The Yankees own the best home record in the majors at 31-12 and are 26-7 in their last 33 home games. New York also has slugged 77 of its major league-leading 137 homers at home after setting a season high with six in Sunday’s 11-1 rout of the Boston Red Sox. Aaron Hicks hit three homers and Aaron Judge belted his 22nd, rookie Gleyber Torres hit his 15th and Kyle Higashioka delivered his first as the Yankees roughed up David Price. Anibal Sanchez, who is 3-2 with a 2.68 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts), gets the ball for the Braves. He’s hoping to avoid his third straight loss after allowing six runs and 10 hits in 9 2/3 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cincinnati Reds. Sanchez exited his last start on Tuesday with right calf cramps after throwing a pitch to Cincinnati’s Joey Votto. Sanchez is making his 271st career start. The first start of his career occurred June 25, 2006, at old Yankee Stadium when he allowed seven hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings for the Miami Marlins against a lineup featuring Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano. Including his major league debut, Sanchez is 4-1 with a 3.79 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees. He last faced New York on Aug. 1 with the Detroit Tigers and held the Yankees to two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings in a 4-3 win at Yankee Stadium. It also was his last win with the Tigers. If Sanchez gives the Braves a chance for a save opportunity in the ninth inning A.J. Green Jersey , Arodys Vizcaino could close it out. Vizcaino was placed on the disabled list June 24 with shoulder inflammation, took a rest day Sunday after throwing a side session Saturday and could be activated for the opener. Vizcaino last pitched June 17. Before going on the DL, he posted a 1.82 ERA, converted 15 of 17 save opportunities and struck out 33 in 29 2/3 innings in 30 appearances. Jonathan Loaisiga will make his fourth start since being inserted into the rotation for Masahiro Tanaka (hamstrings). Loaisiga is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his first three starts. Two of those starts were scoreless outings as he threw a combined 10 1/ 3 scoreless innings, allowed four hits and fanned 14 in wins over Tampa Bay on June 15 and at Philadelphia last Monday. His other start was June 20 when he allowed three runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings of a 7-5 win over the Seattle Mariners decided on a walk-off homer by Stanton. “He was a lot more assertive, a lot more aggressive with his fastball and challenging the strike zone with it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We saw a number of really good breaking balls. We saw some good changeups. When he got in some putaway counts, I felt like he did a better job of making it look like a strike out of the hand, which is something you’ve got to be better at here in the big leagues.” Monday will be the 30th regular-season meeting between the teams, who met in the 1996 and 1999 World Series. The Yankees are 17-12 all-time against the Braves.
  7. An Indiana prosecutor blasted President Donald Trump on Wednesday for politicizing the case of an immigrant illegally living in the U.S. and charged in a drunken crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and another man Authentic Dorance Armstrong Jr. Jersey , saying his and others’ comments were ”ghoulish and inappropriate.” Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said his office would ”vigorously prosecute” the case regardless of the suspect’s immigration status. Curry criticized Trump and others who cited the case as part of the nation’s immigration debate, noting that ”two innocent men lost their lives in this horrible incident.” Curry filed felony charges earlier in the day against the suspect, Manuel Orrego-Savala, a citizen of Guatemala who has twice been deported from the U.S. Orrego-Savala is accused of driving the pickup truck that hit Jackson and his Uber driver, 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe, early Sunday in Indianapolis. ”We are disheartened that ghoulish and inappropriate public commentary has politicized this tragedy,” Curry, a Democrat, said in a statement. ”Much of such commentary, including tweets by the president, fails to acknowledge that both Edwin Jackson and Jeffrey Monroe lost their lives on Sunday. We will simply seek justice on behalf of the families of those two victims.” Trump drew added attention to the case on Twitter, calling the highway collision ”disgraceful,” and prodded Democrats to work with him on illegal immigration and border security. Orrego-Savala is charged with two counts each of causing death while driving intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident. The two more serious counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The 37-year-old said little during his initial court hearing Wednesday Authentic Paul Worrilow Jersey , responding through an interpreter as a judge explained the proceedings and charges. The judge set his bond at $200,000 after entering a not guilty plea on his behalf. Investigators said Orrego-Savala was living illegally in the U.S. at the time of Sunday’s crash. Late Tuesday, he was charged by federal prosecutors with illegal re-entry of a previously deported alien. He faces up to 10 years in prison in that case, which would be handled after any state charges are resolved. His defense attorney, Jorge Torres, said Orrego-Savala’s immigration status has no bearing on the drunken-driving case. He questioned whether his client could get a fair trial given the local publicity about the case and his immigration issues. Torres declined to comment on Trump’s tweets. Torres said his client has been living and doing construction work in the Indianapolis area for several years. ”He’s very distraught to say the least,” Torres said. ”He’s very confused.” Jackson’s family planned no response to Trump’s tweets about the crash and the suspect’s immigration status, according to a family spokesman. ”We’ll let the politicians do the politics while the family is just going to grieve and circle the wagons and try to heal from this tragic situation,” Atlanta attorney Daniel Meachum said Tuesday. ”The family is in shock, as you can imagine.” Prosecutors allege Orrego-Savala was driving the vehicle that crashed into Jackson and Monroe as the two men stood outside Monroe’s car early Sunday along Interstate 70 in Indianapolis. Monroe was transporting Jackson for Uber, the ride-sharing service, and had pulled over after the 26-year-old football player became ill, investigators said. Orrego-Savala was arrested shortly after the crash. A blood test conducted at a hospital determined he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 percent Authentic Dalton Schultz Jersey , more than double Indiana’s legal limit for driving, according to court documents. Orrego-Savala was deported in 2007 and again in 2009. In 2005, he was convicted for driving under the influence in Redwood City, California. He also has numerous other misdemeanor convictions and arrests in California and Indiana, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Nicole Alberico. In the 2005 case, he pleaded no contest to two separate drunken-driving offenses and was given a brief jail sentence, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Orrego-Savala remained jailed Wednesday in Indianapolis. Federal and county prosecutors spelled his last name as ”Orrego-Zavala” in charging documents, but his attorney said his name is spelled Orrego-Savala, a spelling that’s listed among his aliases in the federal documents. Prosecutors filed a motion seeking a DNA sample from Orrego-Savala, arguing it could help determine whether he was in the truck that hit Jackson and Monroe. Prosecutors also said the sample would confirm his identity, noting his various aliases. When Orrego-Savala appeared Tuesday before a judge who advised him of his rights, he told the judge through an interpreter: ”I wasn’t driving the car. I don’t know why I am here,” Indianapolis television station WRTV reported. A police news release did not mention the presence of anyone else in the pickup truck. — Associated Press writer Tom Davies contributed to this report from Indianapolis. — Sign up for the AP’s weekly newsletter showcasing our best reporting from the Midwest and Texas: Asked how the Atlanta Braves have surprised many experts by establishing a three-game lead in the National League East at the season’s halfway point Shaquem Griffin Color Rush Jersey , catcher Kurt Suzuki didn’t hesitate. “This team has no fear,” he said Saturday night after an 11-4 victory in St. Louis. “We have a lot of young guys but we also have some veterans. We approach every game the same way.” Atlanta’s consistency has been too much for the Cardinals this weekend. Behind solid starting pitching and an explosive offense, the Braves (47-34) have outscored St. Louis 16-5 in winning the series’ first two games. They go for a sweep on Sunday at Busch Stadium. Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (5-4, 2.14 ERA) will try to match what Julio Teheran and Max Fried have done in the series. Neither allowed a run in a combined 12 2/3 innings, with Fried enjoying the best outing of his short big league career Saturday night. The former first-round pick of the San Diego Padres allowed only four hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings, recording 11 strikeouts against the whiff-prone Cardinals. The hard-throwing Foltynewicz made his return from the 10-day disabled list Monday night, allowing one hit and one run in five innings while walking four and fanning four against Cincinnati in a no-decision. “The arm was just kind of heavy,” he said to mlb.com. “You can’t really practice these situations when you’re out there with your adrenaline running, but just a couple of times I just couldn’t really extend too far. But adrenaline pushed me through.” Foltynewicz has faced St. Louis three times in his career, going 1-2 with a 9.95 ERA and yielding a whopping 22 hits over 12 2/3 innings. In an attempt to avoid a fourth straight loss, the Cardinals (42-39) will turn to former Atlanta prospect John Gant (2-2, 3.48). Gant, replacing the disabled Michael Wacha in the rotation Authentic Carl Gunnarsson Jersey , pitched the best game of his career Monday night, limiting Cleveland to an infield single by Yan Gomes over seven innings in a 5-0 victory. Gant walked five and fanned four, but his off-speed pitches kept the Indians off-balance all game and enabled him to post his first win as a starter. “We’re lucky the third base bag got in the way of Gomes’ (grounder) or we wouldn’t have had anything,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said to mlb.com of Gant’s performance. Before plating four runs in the ninth inning Saturday night, St. Louis managed two runs in its previous 26 innings. Its offense has been primarily singles and homers, as it’s on pace for the fewest doubles and triples in the majors. Help may be on the way when the Cardinals start a nine-game road trip Monday night against Arizona. Shortstop Paul DeJong may be activated off the disabled list after a weekend rehab stint for Triple-A Memphis. That could result in the move of first baseman Jose Martinez, who’s on a 100-RBI pace but has been poor afield, to his natural outfield position. In fact, Martinez played the last three innings Saturday night in right field. “Jose Martinez has earned a spot in the lineup every day, so we have to figure out a spot to play him,” general manager Michael Girsch said to mlb.com.
  8. Shohei Ohtani might not be able to pitch right now Authentic Rasheem Green Jersey , but he can still hit. At least, that’s what the Los Angeles Angels are counting on as they try to get back into the American League’s wild-card race. The two-way Japanese sensation was activated from the disabled list prior to Tuesday’s series opener against the host Seattle Mariners. Ohtani batted sixth and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts as the Angels lost 4-1. It was Ohtani’s first game since June 6, when he suffered a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow “Hopefully it’ll be a good spot (in the order) for him to hit,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told MLB.com before the game. “But we’re also just trying to get him acclimated. You don’t want to put too much pressure where he’s to say, ‘I’ve got to do so much,’ because he’s hitting higher in the lineup. I think it’s a good spot for him to see some pitches.” The Angels went 8-14 while Ohtani was out and dropped 11 games behind Seattle in the chase for the AL’s second and final wild-card berth. Ohtani, who batted .289 with six home runs and 20 RBIs in his first 34 games of the season, was cleared to begin hitting last week. He took batting practice and faced live pitching in simulated games over the weekend. “He’s not being rushed,” Scioscia said. “He had a very aggressive workout this weekend and was cleared by our medical department. He would not be playing here if he wasn’t cleared by our medical department. We’re very comfortable that he’s ready.” When Ohtani (4-1 Authentic Will Dissly Jersey , 3.10 ERA) will return to the mound is another question. Angels general manager Billy Eppler said last week that Ohtani would be re-evaluated in three weeks to determine whether he’d be able to pitch again this season. The Angels didn’t announce right-hander Garrett Richards (4-4, 3.42 ERA) as Wednesday afternoon’s starter until after Tuesday’s defeat. Richards is 6-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 20 career appearances against the Mariners, including 12 starts. Richards has already faced Seattle twice at Safeco Field this season. He beat the Mariners 5-0 on May 4, allowing four hits in 6 2/3 innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. On June 13, he lasted just two innings in an 8-6 loss, giving up two runs on four hits. Right-hander Mike Leake (8-4, 4.01 ERA), who has won five of his past six decisions, is scheduled to start for Seattle. He’s 3-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four career starts against the Angels. He suffered the loss in the 5-0 defeat on May 4 Authentic Michael Dickson Jersey , allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings. But he beat Los Angeles 6-3 on June 12, allowing one run on four hits in six innings. The Mariners have won a season-high eight straight games. “It’s a real good run we’re on, coming off a sketchy run on the East Coast (losing five of six to the New York Yankees and Boston),” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “The guys bounced back … it’s not always pretty, but we certainly compete very well.” The Latest on Super Bowl protests (all times local): 7:55 p.m. A Metro Transit spokesman says 17 people taken away after blocking a light-rail line carrying ticketholders to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis have been cited and released. Howie Padilla says they were cited for unlawful interference with transit. No one was hurt in the protest Sunday. Metro Transit had buses standing by to get ticketholders to the stadium in time for kickoff. The activists said they were protesting police brutality, as well as the light-rail trains being taken over by Super Bowl spectators rather than being available to ordinary citizens. — 6 p.m. A Metro Transit spokesman says 17 people were taken away after they blocked a light-rail line carrying Super Bowl ticketholders to the stadium. Howie Padilla says no one was hurt in the protest, which blocked trains for about two hours ahead of Sunday’s kickoff. Metro Transit had buses standing by to get ticketholders to the stadium in time. The activists said they were protesting police brutality, as well as the light-rail trains being taken over by Super Bowl spectators rather than being available to ordinary citizens. Padilla says Metro Transit doesn’t expect the 17 activists to face charges. He says Metro Transit respects people’s right to free speech and demonstration. — 4:30 p.m. Police in Minneapolis are removing protesters who locked themselves across a light-rail line near U.S. Bank Stadium, temporarily halting trains carrying fans to the game. Live footage from the scene Sunday showed police working to unlock or cut locks the protesters had used at the stop near the University of Minnesota’s West Bank station. That’s about a half-mile from the stadium. The live footage showed protesters in zip ties waiting to board a bus to be carried from the scene. Protesters blocked the line shortly after 2 p.m. Authentic Alex McGough Jersey , saying they were protesting police brutality as well as the light-rail line being turned over to Super Bowl fans for the day. Metro Transit was busing fans the rest of the way to the game. — 3:30 p.m. A small group of activists protesting police brutality have shut down a light-rail line carrying fans to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. About 30 activists walked onto the city’s Green Line at the Stadium Village stop shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday, stopping trains in both directions. The line runs from downtown St. Paul to the heart of Minneapolis, and is a main way some fans are getting to the big game. Chinyere Tutashinda, a spokeswoman for the activists, says some chained themselves along the track. Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla says the agency has contingency plans to get riders the rest of the way to U.S. Bank Stadium. He says he’s confident they’ll be there for kickoff.
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    SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants will attempt to complete their winningest homestand since their 2012 championship season when they go for a series sweep against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday afternoon. Right-handers Chris Stratton (8-5 Sylvester Williams Jersey , 4.14 ERA) of the Giants and Jon Gray (7-7, 5.52) of the Rockies are scheduled to duel in a rematch of a May 19 meeting in San Francisco won by the Giants 9-4. With hard-fought 3-2 and 1-0 victories in the first two games of the series, the Giants improved to 7-2 on their homestand, with one game remaining. They haven’t had an eight-win homestand since September 2012. Giants manager Bruce Bochy credited his pitchers, who have held the opposition to three or fewer runs in 10 of their last 13 games, including six of nine on the homestand. “There’s a large sense of confidence here at home,” he said. “What’s impressive is the pitching here. It’s keeping us in the game.” Stratton has given up three or fewer earned runs in seven straight starts. That streak includes the May 19 game against the Rockies, when one of the four runs he allowed was unearned. The 27-year-old has faced the Rockies three times in his career, twice as a starter, and has gone 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA. The guy who has given him the most trouble has been Charlie Blackmon Kerry Hyder Jersey , who has four hits, including a home run, in seven at-bats against Stratton. Blackmon had one of the Rockies’ two hits in Wednesday’s loss. Colorado finds itself in an offensive slump entering the series finale. The Rockies have lost four in a row, having totaled nine runs in those games. This comes on the heels of having exploded for 37 runs in their previous four games, all wins. Gray has faced the Giants twice this season, and hasn’t seen the fifth inning either time. After giving up five runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings in the May 19 loss, he was roughed up at home for four runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings in a 7-4 defeat. He did not get a decision in the latter. Gray has started five games in his career against the Giants, going 0-2 with a 5.24 ERA. Both losses came in San Francisco. Gray has struggled this season with Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, the hero of Wednesday’s win with the third walk-off home run of his career. Crawford has a double and two singles in four at-bats against Gray this season. Andrew McCutchen also has scorched the 26-year-old in the past, going 7-for-12 with two doubles. The Giants reached the midpoint of their season with a 42-39 record Wednesday night. That’s a 12-game improvement over last season Filip Forsberg Jersey , when they were already 22 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West. The Rockies will play their 81st game Thursday. They had 47 wins at the midpoint of the 2017 season, nine more than they have this year. Rhys Hoskins has worn a two-sided flap helmet ever since he broke his jaw by fouling a pitch off his face. Any chance the Philadelphia Phillies slugger keeps it on all season? You bet, Hoskins says. His numbers have been jaw-dropping in the three weeks since he returned, and he’s superstitious enough not to mess with a good thing. ”I was able to step back, simplify things, and it’s going well,” Hoskins said. Aaron Nola pitched into the eighth inning to win his 10th game of the season, Hoskins homered again and the Philadelphia Phillies started a pivotal division series by beating the Washington Nationals 4-3 on Thursday night. Hoskins hit a two-run shot in the seventh inning for his 13th home run of the year and a 4-1 lead that propelled the Phillies within two games of idle Atlanta for first place the NL East. The Phillies took two of three last weekend in Washington, and both teams entered this four-game set within striking distance of the Braves. ”We keep inching closer to the Braves, and it’s a good division Authentic Johnny Townsend Jersey ,” Nola said. ”I think it’s going to be a battle to the end.” Nola, who beat the Nationals in his last outing, pitched again like an All-Star and hasn’t lost in six turns since May 26. Nola (10-2) struck out eight and walked only two over 114 pitches and 7 2/3 sensational innings. He has won seven straight decisions at home dating to last season. ”I think it’s everything. The fans, the mound,” Nola said. ”It just feels good.” Nola got Bryce Harper swinging to open the game and fanned Trea Turner with runners on the corners to end the sixth. Washington pinch-hitter Brian Goodwin went down looking to end the seventh, Nola’s seventh strikeout of the game. Harper struck out swinging again in the eighth. Adam Morgan relieved Nola and retired the last batter in the eighth. Tommy Hunter allowed two runs in the ninth on an RBI single by Turner and an RBI double by Michael A. Taylor, before Seranthony Dominguez got the final two outs for his sixth save. JUNE SWOON Pedro Severino had an RBI double in the second for a 1-0 lead and the first run for the Nationals since Sunday. They were outscored 12-0 in a two-game set at Toronto earlier this week. ”We’re going to snap out of this. We really are,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. ”We had a couple of chances to score some runs. We couldn’t do it.” The Phillies tied the game in the second when the center fielder Taylor overran Jorge Alfaro’s single up the middle. That allowed Maikel Franco to score, and Scott Kingery made it 2-1 on a sacrifice fly off Nationals starter Tanner Roark (3-9) in the third. Roark struck out five while allowing only one earned run over six innings for the Nationals, who fell to 4-12 since June 9. HUNGRY HOSKINS Franco had two doubles and Hoskins hit one for a Phillies team that followed two straight losses to the New York Yankees with its second straight victory. Hoskins Authentic Ryan Switzer Jersey , who became the fastest Phillie on Wednesday to reach 30 career homers, in 119 games played, continued his leadership of the lineup since he was reinstated from the disabled list on June 9. The Phillies have won 11 of 17 since he returned and are 41-29 overall in games Hoskins has played. Hoskins ate a burger this week for the first time since he was hurt in late May. He’s feasted on the opposition all month. ”The thing that stands out the most to be will always be how he manages an at-bat for a young player,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. ”The home runs are impressive. There’s no question about it. The power production is impressive.” TRAINER’S ROOM Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (shoulder) could throw a bullpen session over the weekend. He played catch before Thursday’s game. … 3B Ryan Zimmerman (back) could begin a rehab assignment next week. Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (nerve) threw a bullpen session and will head to Florida for live batting practice. … RHP Pat Neshek (shoulder), who has not pitched yet this season, will make a rehab outing Friday at Double-A Reading. UP NEXT Nationals: RHP Erick Fedde (0-3, 5.32 ERA) makes his second straight start against the Phillies. Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.06 ERA) goes for his first career win against the Nationals in three career starts. —
  10. Matt Carpenter helped the St. Louis Cardinals beat two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber in a way no one has before Authentic Justin Bethel Jersey , then he stuck around to make some history of his own. Carpenter homered twice, matched a career best with five hits and helped chase Kluber in the shortest start of the right-hander’s career in the Cardinals’ 11-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night. Carpenter, who also scored a career-best five runs, is the 19th player ever with five hits, including two home runs, and five runs in a game. He’s the first Cardinals player to do it. ”I don’t know, that leaves me kind of speechless,” said Carpenter, who also drove in three. ”It’s pretty cool. Wow, there’s been some really good players come through here. You would have figured somebody would have put together a night better than that.” Kluber (11-4) allowed six runs in 1 2/3 innings and has lost two of his past three decisions. He gave up six hits, including homers to Carpenter and Jose Martinez, and walked one on 48 pitches. Prior to Tuesday, Kluber’s shortest start had been two innings against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. His previous low this year was a five-inning game on June 15 against Minnesota when he took his third loss of the season. ”He’s human,” manager Terry Francona said. ”Don’t think guys go 35 starts without having a bump in the road.” It was a far cry from his only other appearance against the Cardinals. He struck out a career-best 18 in a 2-0 victory on May 13, 2015. Carlos Martinez (4-4) settled down after a rough first inning for his first victory since May 2. He had lost three straight decisions over his previous five starts. He went six innings, allowing two runs, six hits and a walk while striking out eight. St. Louis has won four straight after struggling through a 2-8 stretch. Cleveland entered the series on a seven-game winning streak before dropping the first two of this three-game set. The Indians used three singles and a walk to take a 2-0 lead in the first but had only three more singles against Martinez and none after the starter was pulled. Carpenter answered the Indians’ fast start with his 14th home run. It was Carpenter’s third leadoff homer of the year and 18th in his career. He also led off the eighth with his 15th homer, a solo shot, on a 5-for-5 night. The five hits matched a mark he set June 14, 2014 at Kansas City Authentic Logan Paulsen Jersey , and he was a triple shy of the cycle. ”I don’t think you wish for a home run not to be a home run, but it would have been cool to do,” he said of the cycle. ”It’s something I’ve never done, but I’ll take the home run, too.” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny made several fielding changes in the late innings to let players get some rest. He said he considered pulling Carpenter but decided the potential cycle meant more than a couple of innings off. ”It was on our mind, but this is special for him and special for our fans,” Matheny said. ”When he’s on, it’s impressive to watch his approach and what he can do when he’s got his swing going right.” Jose Martinez’s 12th home run, a three-run blast to left field, chased Kluber. Kolten Wong added a two-run shot in the third, his sixth of the season. RAIN DELAY Tuesday’s game was delayed 1-hour, 26-minutes by rain, marking the second consecutive game between the Indians and Cardinals that was affected by inclement weather. The first pitch Monday was pushed back 1-hour, 21-minutes because of a thunderstorm. TRAINING ROOM Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco is scheduled to throw 40 pitches off the mound Wednesday in St. Louis. If all goes well, he could begin his rehab assignment Saturday. Carrasco is currently on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow contusion. Cardinals: SS Yairo Munoz was pulled after the third inning with a left ankle contusion. He fouled a ball off his leg during his last at-bat before grounding out to short and was replaced by Greg Garcia to start the fourth. UP NEXT Indians: RHP Shane Bieber (2-0, 2.45) makes his fourth start of his rookie season. After allowing 18 hits in his first two appearances, he gave up four but struck out nine and blanked the Tigers through seven innings in his last outing. Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.50) is coming off his best start of his rookie year. He allowed a season-low one hit and tied a season-high with 13 strikeouts but didn’t figure in the decision in the 2-1 loss at Milwaukee. He’s given up two runs on six hits in his previous 18 1/3 innings over three games. — Edwin Jackson figures he’ll enjoy pitching for as long as teams are willing to put him on the mound. Jackson tied a record Monday when he played for his 13th major league club, allowing a run in six innings for the Oakland Athletics in their 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers. Called up from Triple-A for his first big league appearance of 2018, Jackson matched the mark for most teams set by former reliever Octavio Dotel. ”It’s always good to be wanted Authentic Brandon Parker Jersey ,” Jackson said. ”When I can’t find a team that wants to bring me in, then I guess it’ll be time to sit it down. But until then, I like to come out. I like to compete, to have fun. I feel like I still have something in me and that I can bring value to a team.” Jed Lowrie hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the top of the ninth. The A’s trailed 4-1 after Detroit’s Nicholas Castellanos hit a three-run homer in the seventh, but Oakland scored three in the eighth off Joe Jimenez to tie it. Then Lowrie connected for his 12th home run of the year, barely fair down the line in right field off a cutter from Shane Greene (2-4). Lou Trivino (6-1) got the win in relief, and Blake Treinen pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 20 chances. The A’s have won seven of nine. Jordan Zimmermann pitched five scoreless innings for the Tigers, but that wasn’t enough to prevent Detroit’s sixth straight loss. ”I felt good,” Zimmermann said. ”I threw a lot of sliders today, and they were pretty good.” Stephen Piscotty and Jonathan Lucroy had three hits apiece for Oakland. Piscotty hit a solo homer in the seventh to tie it at 1. The A’s have homered in a record 26 consecutive road games. The 34-year-old Jackson allowed six hits and struck out seven with no walks. It was his first start since Sept. 28, when he was with Washington. ”For most guys, it’s tough to go to a new team in the middle of a season. There can be some nerves and some uncomfortableness being with a new team,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”This is probably the last guy that you worry about that, being that it’s his 13th team. He seemed real comfortable when he came out of the bullpen, seemed really comfortable when he took the mound. That has a lot to do with experience.” Down by three in the eighth, Oakland chipped away against Jimenez. Marcus Semien hit a sacrifice fly, and Lucroy followed with an RBI single. Then Franklin Barreto tied it with a run-scoring double. John Hicks hit an RBI single for Detroit in the fourth to open the scoring. Oakland center fielder Dustin Fowler made a diving catch with a runner on second to end the seventh. JOURNEY Jackson made his big league debut in 2003 with the Dodgers. He’s also pitched for the Rays, Tigers, Diamondbacks, White Sox Authentic Nick Nelson Jersey , Cardinals, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Marlins, Padres and Orioles. Detroit traded him in 2009 as part of the three-team deal with Arizona and the New York Yankees that brought Max Scherzer to the Tigers. ”I’ve been playing against him forever, so I was pretty familiar with his stuff, just from a hitting standpoint,” said Lucroy, Oakland’s catcher. ”Look, this guy’s an innings eater. He throws strikes. He fills the zone up, attacks guys. Veteran pitcher who knows exactly what he’s doing out there.” Monday marked eight years since Jackson threw a no-hitter for Arizona at Tampa Bay. CITIZENS Before the game, the Tigers held a ceremony for a group of people being sworn in as American citizens. Included were Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Leonys Martin, both natives of Cuba. ”It’s amazing,” Iglesias said before the game. ”Become an American citizen on a ballpark, and with full uniform and everything. It’s a blessing.” TRAINER’S ROOM Athletics: Oakland reinstated LHP Ryan Buchter from the disabled list. He’d been on the DL since April 26 with a strained left shoulder. The A’s also purchased Jackson’s contract from Triple-A Nashville, designated RHP Liam Hendriks for assignment and optioned OF Nick Martini to Nashville. UP NEXT Detroit sends LHP Blaine Hardy (3-1) to the mound Tuesday night against Oakland RHP Frankie Montas (4-1). —
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    NEW YORK — When Bryce Harper went down the ground for the second time after being hit by a pitch Tuesday night Authentic Todd Gurley Jersey , the Washington Nationals feared the worst, especially with how much injuries have impacted them. It turned out there was not a long-term injury to fear for their superstar, just some initial pain. After getting hit by pitches in the back of the left elbow and on his left foot Tuesday, Harper is expected to play Wednesday when the Nationals conclude their two-game series with the New York Yankees. “Oh yeah, he’s in there,” Martinez said. Harper reached base four times, but it was his final two appearances that caused the most angst for the Nationals, who mustered five hits and opened the series with a 3-0 loss. In the fifth, he dropped to the ground after being hit on the left elbow by CC Sabathia’s 90.1 mph sinker. Three innings later, an 88.8 mph slider from Dellin Betances hit him on the foot and off his big toe, creating some numbness. “I was really worried,” Martinez said. “He started walking off the field. The good news is he’s walking off the field, He came in a few minutes ago and said he was fine.” Harper’s exit occurred on a night when the Nationals tied a franchise record by getting shut out in consecutive games for the 12th time since moving from Montreal following the 2004 season. Their scoreless drought is at 19 innings and they have eight hits in the last two games. Harper batted third and played right field Tuesday. He batted two spots ahead of Daniel Murphy, who was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his season debut after missing the first 63 games recovering from right knee surgery. Murphy started at designated hitter and will likely do so again Wednesday. “His timing could have been off JK Scott Jersey ,” Martinez said. “I know he’s going to hit.” The Yankees opened the series by getting two homers from Didi Gregorius, who has three of their 14 multi-homer games this season. Gregorius homered at home for the first time since April 25 and is hitting .286 (10-for-35) in his last nine games after hitting .151 (14-for-93) in 22 games in May. While Gregorius is starting to rebound from a tough month, Gary Sanchez is in a massive slump and did not start Tuesday. He is not expected to start Wednesday, giving him three days off. Sanchez is enduring the first significant struggles of his career and spent time figuring a way out of a prolonged slump that has shrunk his batting average to .190, though the Yankees think he will get rolling again. “The one thing he never loses is his confidence, because he’s such a gifted hitter,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before the series opener. “He wants to get in there and get it going; he expects to get it going.” He is hitless in his last 11 at-bats and is 2-for-29 with 10 strikeouts over his last seven games. Sanchez has yet to heat up in a season when he started 2-for-36 but on May 19-21 he went 4-for-10 in two games, raising his average to a season-high .231. Since those games, Sanchez is 4-for-53. “Maybe I’m over-thinking this a little too much, that’s why I’m missing those pitches I usually don’t miss,” Sanchez before Tuesday’s game. “I swung at some pitcher’s pitches. Maybe (I’m a) little bit in between. “But I feel good. I know if I stay healthy, it won’t reflect what I should be hitting. I’m sure I’ll get through this.” If Boone started Sanchez Wednesday, it would have been as the designated hitter since Sonny Gray is starting. During the road trip, Gray allowed one run in 14 innings during wins over Baltimore and Toronto. Against teams with losing records http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/jaire-alexander-jersey , he is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA but against teams with winning records, he is 1-4 with a 7.61 ERA in five outings. Last Wednesday, Gray turned in his first scoreless start since becoming a Yankee when he allowed two hits in eight innings during a game that Yankees won in the 13th. Gray made two starts for Oakland Athletics against the Washington Nationals. In those outings, he allowed six runs on 10 hits in 14 innings. Since Jeremy Hellickson and Stephen Strasburg are on the disabled list, Washington has an opening in its rotation for Wednesday and it will be filled by Erick Fedde, who will be called up from Triple-A Syracuse for his second start this season. Fedde allowed three runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings as a fill-in starter against the San Diego Padres on May 23. Fedde is 0-2 with an 8.14 ERA in four career starts for the Nationals. Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is scheduled make a minor league rehab start on Saturday as he continues his recovery from a strained lower back. The three-time NL Cy Young Award could be back pitching in the majors soon. According to manager Dave Roberts, Kershaw will be limited to four innings and 60 pitches when he returns to the mound with Triple-A Oklahoma City at Omaha. If the outing goes well, Roberts hoped the left-hander’s next appearance would be with Los Angeles. Kershaw threw a three-inning simulated game before the Dodgers’ postponed series opener against the Chicago Cubs on Monday night. Afterward, Kershaw said he felt really good. Roberts said Kershaw returning when the Dodgers play at the New York Mets this weekend was considered, but the team opted for the minor league start to give the lefty ”the best chance for success and health.” The 30-year-old Kershaw was sidelined for nearly a month with left biceps tendinitis before returning May 31 against Philadelphia. He pitched five effective innings in a no-decision against the Phillies, and then went back on the disabled list the next day with the back injury. —
  12. Ryne Stanek is set for a new role in the Tampa Bay rotation – sort of. The reliever will likely now start two out of every five games in the Rays‘ ongoing bullpen-day experiment. Wilson Ramos homered James Washington Color Rush Jersey , six Tampa Bay relievers combined for a five-hitter and the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 on Tuesday night. With right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Faria on the disabled list, Tampa Bay is using relievers to start three times through the rotation. Stanek opened the game, striking out three in two perfect innings, and was followed by Austin Pruitt (2 2/3 innings), Jonny Venters (one-third of an inning), Chaz Roe (1 1/3 innings), Jose Alvarado (1 2/3 innings) and Sergio Romo (one inning). ”We won, so it’s a pretty good day,” Stanek said. ”It’s like anything, the more you do something, the more comfortable you’re going to be. It’s definitely starting to become a little more normal. It’s not really coming like a surprise.” It was Stanek’s fourth start. ”Stanek set the tone,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ”The big story of the game was the bullpen, how they pieced it together.” Pruitt (2-3) allowed four hits and a run but picked up the win. Romo allowed the other hit but locked down his second save. ”It’s always fun seeing guys come in behind you and get the job done,” Pruitt said. Tampa Bay has won three of four following an eight-game skid. Ramos put the Rays up 2-0 with his two-run drive off Jaime Garcia (2-5) in the third. Garcia gave up four runs Ian Thomas Color Rush Jersey , four hits, four walks and struck out four in five-plus innings. The left-hander is 1-4 in seven road starts, allowing 28 earned runs over 31 1/3 innings. ”I competed and tried to make pitches,” Garcia said. ”There’s a couple of walks there that I’ve got to do a better there.” Garcia departed after C.J Cron walked and went to third on Willy Adames‘ double to start the sixth. Pinch-hitter Joey Wendle and Mallex Smith both had run-scoring singles off Joe Biagini that made it 4-1. Toronto had runners on second and third with no outs in the fifth but scored just once on Devon Travis‘ grounder off Pruitt. ”We had a chance to tie it, and then who knows?” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. The Blue Jays have been held to one run or fewer 11 times. TRAINER’S ROOM Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf tightness) remains day to day. … RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder) will make a rehab start Wednesday night with Class A Dunedin. Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier (right thumb torn ligament) went 2 for 4 with a walk in his first minor league rehab game with Class A Charlotte and hopes to be back June 22. … OF Johnny Field (sore knee) was available off the bench. HOUSE OF HORRORS The Blue Jays have dropped the first two games in the three-game set and are 73-105 at Tropicana Field. It’s the most losses at any road ballpark since 1998, the Rays’ inaugural season. ”They’ve always held us in check down here,” Gibbons said. ”I don’t care what the roster is, I don’t care what team is here. It’s always kind of been that way.” REACHING A DECADE Romo reached 10 years of major league service time Monday and was given a postgame celebration by his teammates. ”A pretty awesome day,” Romo said. UP NEXT Tampa Bay RHP Wilmer Font (0-1) will start another bullpen game Wednesday against Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (8-3). — Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner has no plans to restrict Cam Newton’s ability to make plays with his feet. As for the quarterback’s throwing motion, well that might need a little tweaking. The 65-year-old Turner said he returned to coaching because of an opportunity to work again with Panthers coach Ron Rivera – who was on his coaching staff for four seasons in San Diego – and to coach the talented group of offensive players led by Newton. ”He’s an amazing player for his position,” Turner said Tuesday on a conference call. The versatile 6-foot-5, 245-pound Newton has carried the ball 828 times over the past seven seasons – by far the most in the league by a quarterback during that span. By comparison, Seattle’s Russell Wilson has run the ball 578 times during his six seasons in the league. While it’s logical to question how much pounding Newton’s body can take – he turns 29 in May – it’s also hard to argue with his success. He’s averaged 5.2 yards per carry and has scored 54 touchdowns rushing, which is the most by a QB in NFL history. And Newton tends to play better when he’s more involved in the running game. ”He’s a real threat to defenses Joel Iyiegbuniwe Color Rush Jersey ,” Tuner said. ”So he will always have that threat to run.” That should be music to Newton’s ears. After Newton carried the ball a career-high 139 times last season and led the Panthers in rushing with 754 yards, he said ”that’s my edge.” ”I wouldn’t expect you or anybody else to take it away,” Newton said following Carolina’s season-ending playoff loss at New Orleans. ”And when I say you, I mean the media as a whole. I’m comfortable running the football, I feel like I help the team when I’m running the football, and as long as I’m playing this game, I’m going to run the football.” Turner suggested that he and his son Scott Turner, the team’s new quarterbacks coach, will look to improve Newton’s throwing mechanics. Because he’s so big Newton has a tendency to rely on his strong arm and throw off his back foot, often resulting in high throws that lead to incompletions or interceptions. Turner said that while sometimes those types of throws are necessary under pressure, the staff ”is going to work hard to get his weight transferred and have good technique when he is throwing.” Turner said the Panthers overall system won’t change much, although he wants to be able to stretch the field vertically to force defenses to cover the entire field. He believes Newton has the arm strength to do that. Turner said he had a brief conversation with Newton after being hired. ”We didn’t get into a lot of football,” Turner said. ”As he expressed to me – and I feel the same way – there is excitement and nervousness. When you have change there is nervousness. Sometimes that nervousness is good and it gets your attention. It’s not status quo and you use that as a time to improve.” —
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    The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers each are getting starting offensive linemen back for their early round playoff matchup. Saints left tackle Terron Armstead and Carolina guard Trai Turner each had been listed as questionable for Sunday’s NFC wild-card game after both were unable to play in their teams’ regular-season finales a week earlier. Armstead was limited in practice this past week as he worked his way back from a thigh injury that sidelined him last week at Tampa Bay. Turner is returning from a concussion that forced him out of three games. Panthers offensive tackle Matt Kalil also is available to play after being listed as questionable with an illness Friday. Panthers leading receiver Devin Funchess Madison Bowey Jersey , too, is active as expected after being listed as questionable with a sore shoulder. Also returning for New Orleans is rookie defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who has missed three games with an ankle injury. Nearly all of the players deactivated were healthy scratches. Among the Panthers’ inactives are: center Greg Van Roten, defensive end Zach Moor, offensive tackles Blaine Clausell and Amini Silatolu, cornerback Kevon Seymour, defensive end Charles Johnson and third-string quarterback Garrett Gilbert. Inactive for the Saints are: defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE Kasim Edebali Nicklas Backstrom Jersey , offensive lineman John Fullington, center Cameron Tom, receiver Austin Carr, running back Jonathan Williams and tight end John Phillips. — A fist pump and a late fastball on the cusp of 100 mph was all the indication needed to know just how good German Marquez felt Saturday. He pitched two-hit ball over eight innings and Ian Desmond homered as the Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1. Marquez (6-8) retired his first 15 batters before Enrique Hernandez connected for a home run off the left-field foul pole leading off the sixth. After a Chase Utley single, Marquez dispatched the Dodgers on three fly balls to end the inning and pumped his right fist to emphasize the moment. ”Isn’t that great? I loved that” Rockies manager Bud Black said of the fist pump. ”He uses (his energy) with his fastball. I want him to use it with his fastball but not overthrow. There is a time you can stand on a pitch and lean on it and I think he does that.” He appeared to do just that with his fastball in the eighth inning. Facing Hernandez two innings after the home run, Marquez struck out the Dodgers’ utility man on a 99.9 mph fastball. ”No doubt I let it rip on that one,” Marquez said through an interpreter. ”But I worked hard in my preparation in between starts and my goal is to maintain my stamina deep into games. I think today I was able to accomplish that.” Marquez struck out nine and walked none after entering with a 5.53 ERA, third-worst among qualified National League starters. The Rockies closed out June with three consecutive victories and two consecutive over the Dodgers after getting swept by Los Angeles in a three-game series at Coors Field to begin the month. Colorado finished June with an 11-16 record. Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda (5-5) gave up three runs Philipp Grubauer Jersey , two earned, on five hits over seven innings and lost for the first time in four June starts. He had a short stint on the disabled list during the month due to a right hip strain. He struck out nine for the second consecutive start. ”It was a good outing,” Maeda said through an interpreter. ”My desire is to be able to pitch deeper into the game and being able to pitch seven innings and is a good thing. But unfortunately, we didn’t get the win and that was something we wanted.” The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when DJ LeMahieu scored from third base on a passed ball by catcher Yasmani Grandal. Nolan Arenado struck out, but advanced to first with LeMahieu scoring when the ball got through Grandal. Desmond went deep in the fifth for a 2-0 lead. It was his 17th home run of the season and career-best 13th on the road. Trevor Story doubled for the Rockies in the seventh and scored on Chris Iannetta’s single to make it 3-1. After a strong start to the month, the Dodgers finished June with a 17-9 record, losing four of their last five games. CLOSER FOR THE DAY Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino pitched the ninth Saturday for his second save. Closer Wade Davis, who earned the save after Tyler Anderson’s eight-inning outing Friday T.J. Oshie Jersey , was given the night off. ”He pitched great and he deserved to win,” Ottavino said of Marquez. ”That’s two games straight that we got eight innings out of our starters so we appreciate that down in the bullpen. I think everybody does on the team so I think that was just an awesome job by (Marquez).” Davis is expected to return to the closer role Sunday. DODGERS DRIVE 55 Hernandez’s home run gave the Dodgers 55 in the month of June, to increase their franchise record for a month. The previous record of 53 was set in June of last season. His home run was his 14th of the season and third this week. Max Muncy and Joc Pederson each finished with 10 home runs in June. Pederson has 11 on the season. ”I worked really hard in the off season to get stronger and get in better shape,” said Hernandez, whose previous best was 11 home runs last season. ”Last year I hit a lot of doubles and this year those doubles are turning into homers. Hopefully we can keep swinging the bats in July the way we are in June.” TRAINER’S ROOM Rockies: OF David Dahl (broken right foot) is out of a walking boot and will join the team Monday in Colorado to continue his rehab. Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (right rib microfracture), who made one appearance this week after returning from the DL, will likely need two starts at Class A Rancho Cucamonga before he returns to the Dodgers, according to manager Dave Roberts. … RHP Pedro Baez (right biceps tendinitis) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Authentic Blake Wheeler Jersey , but no timetable for his return has been revealed. UP NEXT Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis (5-1, 5.07 ERA) will be back on the road where he excels, as his five road victories were tied for third in the National League at the start of play Saturday. Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling (6-2, 1.98) has a loss and a no-decision in his past two starts following a six-start win streak.
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    Shane Bieber was relaxing in the clubhouse at Triple-A Columbus on Saturday when he received an important message. The rookie right-hander was needed in the big leagues. Bieber capped a whirlwind few hours by pitching one-run ball into the sixth inning for his first major league win Jakub Vrana Jersey , helping the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Sunday. He scattered 10 hits and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings in his second career start. He was recalled earlier in the day when Carlos Carrasco went on the 10-day disabled list with a bruised right elbow. ”It was hectic,” said Bieber, who was told about his promotion Saturday evening. ”They said go pack what you need and get on the road as soon as possible.” Catcher Yan Gomes, whose three run-double in the third snapped a 1-all tie, was impressed with the composure a 23-year-old pitcher who began the season at Double-A Akron showed in unusual circumstances. ”The kid has some poise,” Gomes said. ”He knows what he’s doing out there. That’s good to see from such a young guy.” Tyler Naquin had an RBI single in the second. Cody Allen, the Indians’ third reliever, pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 15 opportunities. Cleveland salvaged the finale of the three-game series and broke a five-game losing streak against Minnesota. Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi (3-4) allowed four runs in five innings. He is winless in seven starts since May 8. Bieber was scheduled to start for Triple-A Columbus on Sunday, but that plan changed when Carrasco was injured in the second inning of Saturday’s 9-3 loss. Carrasco’s early exit forced the Indians to use seven pitchers, including Adam Plutko, who was scheduled to start for Cleveland on Sunday. Bieber, instead of preparing to face Indianapolis in the International League, made the 2 1/2 drive from Columbus. Bieber got an idea a change was coming when he and his teammates were watching the Indians game. ”We saw the bullpen was kind of thin and all of a sudden I see Plutko in the game,” he said. ”Somebody across the clubhouse goes, `who’s supposed to start for us tomorrow?’ All these heads turn and they say, `you might be starting in the big leagues.’ ” Bieber scrambled to get his father and brother tickets for a red-eye flight from California so they could attend the game. Eduardo Escobar’s first-inning double gave Minnesota the lead. The Twins were coming off wins over Corey Kluber, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Jay Beagle Jersey , and Carrasco in the first two games of the series, but were held in check by Bieber (1-0). Minnesota had runners on second and third with nobody out in the sixth, but Bieber struck out Mitch Garver and Ehre Adrianza. Oliver Perez struck out Joe Mauer to end the inning. Escobar doubled in each of his first three at-bats, but Minnesota stranded 10 baserunners and was 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. ”We had chances,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ”We could have put the ball in play multiple times whether it was just a ground ball or fly ball that was going to get us a point or two, get us closer.” Bieber made his major league debut at Minnesota on May 31, allowing four runs in 5 2/3 innings. He left with the Indians ahead 8-4, but the bullpen couldn’t hold onto the lead and Cleveland won 9-8. Michael Brantley hit a leadoff double in the third, and Edwin Encarnacion and Lonnie Chisenhall drew one-out walks. Gomes’ double to the wall in left-center scored all three runners. NICE REWARD The Twins won’t get a breather when it comes to facing the top pitchers in the AL in their three-game series against Boston. Minnesota will go against former Cy Young winners Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello, who are a combined 22-8 this season. NEXT GAME ADDITION Indians manager Terry Francona said first baseman Yonder Alonso will return to the team Monday. Alonso was placed on the family-medical-emergency list Friday. TRAINER’S ROOM Twins: OF Robbie Grossman was removed for a pinch runner in the sixth inning for what was announced as ”heat illness.” Molitor said Grossman felt lightheaded and dizzy. Indians: Carrasco will have additional tests Monday. … LHP Tyler Olson (strained back muscle) was placed on the 10-day DL. He’s 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA in 28 appearances. UP NEXT Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (7-5, 3.51 ERA) will pitch Monday against Boston in the first of a three-game series. Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (5-5, 2.69 ERA) will go in the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Monday at Progressive Field. Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in two runs, Eduardo Rodriguez struck out six in six innings and the Boston Red Sox beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep. Rodriguez (10-3) allowed three hits and walked one. Craig Kimbrel worked the ninth for his 26th save in 28 chances, finishing a six-hitter. The Nationals (42-43) have lost five in a row to fall below .500 this late in the season for the first time since being 60-61 on Aug. 21, 2015. The preseason NL East favorites held a players-only meeting after the game. A throwing error by Adam Eaton on Bradley’s sacrifice fly and a wild pitch by Ryan Madson (2-4) in the seventh inning contributed to Washington’s 17th loss in 22 games. Nationals starter Erick Fedde left one batter into the second inning with right shoulder stiffness. Manager Davey Martinez said Fedde was scheduled to have an MRI. YANKEES 6, BRAVES 2 NEW YORK (AP) – Giancarlo Stanton hit a three-run homer and CC Sabathia pitched six effective innings John Carlson Jersey , leading the Yankees to the victory. Yankees rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres left in the fifth inning because of tightness in his right hip and was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hip strain. Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka also homered for New York. Higashioka became the ninth player since 1920 whose first three hits were home runs. Sabathia (6-3) yielded two runs and five hits. Atlanta starter Julio Teheran (6-6) lasted just five innings, allowing five runs and five hits. He struck out 10 and walked four. CARDINALS 8, DIAMONDBACKS 4 PHOENIX (AP) – Yadier Molina and Yairo Munoz homered, Miles Mikolas threw six strong innings and St. Louis broke loose late to beat Arizona and take two of three from the first-place Diamondbacks. Molina’s three-run shot on the first pitch from reliever Fernando Salas highlighted a five-run seventh inning after Arizona had nursed a 2-1 lead through six. Tommy Pham drove in three Cardinals runs with a double and two singles. The Diamondbacks dropped to 1-5 on their homestand and lead the surging Dodgers by just a half-game in the NL West. Mikolas (9-3) gave up two runs, seven hits and four walks. Arizona reliever Yoshihisa Hirano (2-1) had his franchise-record streak of 26 games without allowing a run end when Munoz homered on the first pitch of the seventh. Hirano gave up four runs, one earned, on three hits in two-thirds of an inning for his first loss since coming to the major leagues from Japan this season. ASTROS 5, RANGERS 4, 10 INNINGS ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Evan Gattis drove in Jose Altuve with a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, sending AL West-leading Houston to the road win. Altuve stopped a 0-for-13 slide with a one-out single in the 10th. Chris Martin (1-2) then hit Yuli Gurriel with a pitch before an errant pickoff throw allowed both runners to move up. Gattis followed with a fly ball to right-center. Gurriel homered, doubled and scored twice as the Astros overcame an early four-run deficit. Collin McHugh (4-0) pitched three scoreless innings, and Ken Giles got three outs for his 12th save. Texas’ Shin-Soo Choo homered and singled to extend his on-base streak to 44 games, the longest in his career and in the majors this season. DODGERS 6, PIRATES 4 LOS ANGELES (AP) – Rich Hill earned his first win in three months, Yasmani Grandal and Chris Taylor drove in three runs apiece, and the Dodgers swept the Pirates for the second straight year. The Dodgers outscored the Pirates 31-8 in the three-game series while winning their fourth in a row overall. Hill (2-3) allowed two runs in five innings for his first victory since April 1. Kenley Jansen earned a five-out save Lars Eller Jersey , his 23rd of the season. Gregory Polanco hit a two-run homer for Pittsburgh. Clay Holmes (0-1) was charged with four runs in 2 1/3 innings in his first major league start. CUBS 5, TIGERS 2 CHICAGO (AP) – Javier Baez stole home, Willson Contreras hit a tiebreaking homer and the Cubs earned their sixth straight victory. Conditions at Wrigley Field favored the long ball, with a game-time temperature of 92 degrees, a heat index of 102 and the wind blowing out. David Bote also connected for Chicago. Jose Quintana (7-6) pitched six effective innings in his first win since May 31, and Brandon Morrow got three outs for his 19th save. Nicholas Castellanos and John Hicks went deep for Detroit, which has dropped 13 of 15. Francisco Liriano (3-5) permitted three runs in six innings. ATHLETICS 4, PADRES 2 OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Stephen Piscotty doubled three times and drove in three runs, powering Oakland to the win. Khris Davis added an RBI single for the A’s, who have won 14 of 17 to move a season-high nine games over .500. Lou Trivino (7-1) retired two batters for the win. Blake Treinen pitched the ninth for his 22nd save. Christian Villanueva hit his 17th home run for San Diego. Jose Castillo (1-2) got the loss. PHILLIES 4, ORIOLES 1 PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Aaron Nola stuck out nine in seven innings, Nick Williams hit a two-run homer and the Phillies beat the Orioles to sweep a two-game interleague series. Nola (11-2) gave up one run and seven hits to win his fifth straight decision. Victor Arano tossed two innings for his first career save. Philadelphia pulled within 1 1/2 games of NL East-leading Atlanta and improved 10 games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2011 season with a franchise-record 102 wins. Orioles right-hander Yefry Ramirez (0-2) gave up two runs – one earned – and one hit in five innings. METS 6, B
  15. The Philadelphia Eagles kicked off their first practice of Super Bowl week with a typical Wednesday session and concluded it by singing ”Happy Birthday” to their coach. Everyone except defensive tackle Tim Jernigan participated in practice Andre Burakovsky Jersey , according to a pool report. Jernigan has an illness that coach Doug Pederson said is a ”24-hour deal.” Practice, held indoors at the University of Minnesota’s Gibson-Nagurski Complex Braden Holtby Jersey , stopped for 30 minutes to simulate Sunday’s halftime events, giving players a chance to see what it’s like to restart after a layoff. Pederson celebrated his 50th birthday by getting his team ready to face the New England Patriots. He’ll spend the night in meetings with coaches. — Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Blake Snell lost his no-hit bid Monday night when the Washington Nationals‘ Anthony Rendon led off the seventh inning with a double off the left-field wall. The 25-year-old Snell walked Trea Turner and Bryce Harper to open the game but retired 18 straight until Rendon’s line drive. Snell had struck out 10 and thrown 80 pitches through six innings. Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier made a nice running catch on Turner’s drive in the sixth Youth Christian Djoos Jersey , and second baseman Willy Adames then dived for Harper’s grounder and threw him out to end the inning. Snell pitched seven innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 victory over Justin Verlander and the Astros last time out, though he walked a season-high seven. The Rays led 10-0 Womens Devante Smith-Pelly Jersey , keyed by Kiermaier’s grand slam in a six-run second. —
  16. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash has had to defend his strategy using relievers as starters time and time again. At least this time Authentic Patrick Mahomes Jersey , the defense came after the formula led his team to a victory. Wilmer Font held the high-scoring Yankees in check and the Rays stopped New York 3-1 Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep. ”We’re doing everything we can (and) what we think is right to win games,” Cash said. ”When we win, yeah, we like it. When we lose, it’s grueling.” In his third start of the season, Font turned in his best performance of the year in any role, allowing just one run in 4 2-3 innings with five strikeouts. The right-hander, who also has eight relief appearances, matched a career-high with 74 pitches. Tampa Bay, which has been hurt by injuries to its rotation, employed a reliever to open for the 15th time in 29 games. Entering the game, relievers working as starters had allowed 13 earned runs in 18 innings. ”Today he gave us a huge boost,” Cash said of the 28-year old right-hander. ”He probably got a little deeper in the game than what we even anticipated.” Matt Duffy drove in two runs with a second-inning single for his first multi-RBI game in over a month. The infielder, who missed 2017 while undergoing two Achilles surgeries, is hitting .352 (25 for 71) with seven RBI over his last 18 contests. ”I typically don’t see CC too well,” Duffy said. ”That wasn’t the greatest pitch to hit, but when you’re going well, those seem to fall.” Carlos Gomez had an RBI double as Tampa Bay scored all three runs in the second against CC Sabathia (4-2). The left-hander pitched into the eighth inning for the first time this season and struck out 10 for just the second time since the start of 2014. ”I just tried to be really aggressive because they were aggressive William Karlsson Jersey ,” Sabathia said. Tampa Bay defeated New York for the first time this season. The Yankees opened the season with five straight wins, outscoring the Rays 31-10 over the games, and was trying for a four-game sweep. The Rays are 5-18 in their last 23 games at Yankee Stadium. Chaz Roe (1-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory. Sergio Romo, who has also drawn five starts this season, closed for his third save in six chances. Rookie Willy Adames singled to lead off the Rays second. Adeiny Hechavarria, who missed nearly a month with a strained hamstring, singled for the first of his three hits. Gomez doubled and Duffy delivered a two-out single. Hechavarria also robbed rookie sensation Gleyber Torres of a base hit with dive and throw from shortstop in the seventh inning. New York matched its lowest run total at home this season. Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius worked two-out walks against Jose Alvarado in the fifth, but the hard-throwing lefty struck out Giancarlo Stanton on four pitches. In the eighth, Diego Castillo struck out Gary Sanchez on three pitches to strand another runner. Aaron Hicks homered off Font in the fifth – it was actually the second homer of the day. Hours earlier, the Yankees held their 72nd Old-Timers’ Day and Nick Swisher, making his debut with the former players, hit a long drive to right field. Hall of Famers Whitey Ford and Reggie Jackson were joined by the likes of Don Larsen, Willie Randolph, Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi. Current New York manager Aaron Boone also took part for the first time. UP NEXT Rays: Tampa Bay will start a reliever for the third consecutive day when RHP Ryne Stanek (1-1, 2.55 ERA) draws the start as the Rays open a three-game series at Houston. He’ll be opposed by RHP Gerrit Cole (8-1, 2.40 ERA). Yankees: New York heads to Washington for a makeshift doubleheader Monday. The teams will resume a suspended game from May 15 before a traditional nine-inning game follows. With heavy rain falling, play was halted after 5 1-2 innings with the teams tied at 3. The teams were set to resume play, and their interleague series Alex Ovechkin Jersey Kids , one day later, but rain continued to fall and both events were postponed. Boone will turn to his bullpen to begin the day and RHP Sonny Gray (4-4, 4.96 ERA) takes the mound in game two. TRAINER’S ROOM Yankees: OF Brett Gardner (knee) was held out of the lineup with a little soreness. The only thing that’s gone well for Oklahoma’s massive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. this week is a vote of confidence from his Heisman Trophy-winning teammate. ”When are you ever going to watch Orlando Brown run 40 yards down the field?” quarterback Baker Mayfield asked Friday. ”You can watch last year’s tape and see he allowed zero sacks. I’d say that’s pretty important for a left tackle.” It sure is. But measures matter, too, and Brown’s wretched week will undoubtedly stick in the minds of scouts, coaches and general managers leading up to the draft next month. The nearly 6-foot-8, 345-pound left tackle managed just 14 reps on the 225-pound bench press Thursday, the lowest total of any lineman who has lifted at the combine this week. That’s tied for third-worst among offensive tackles since 2000, according to Pro Football Reference. Things only got worse Friday for the son of former Browns and Ravens right tackle Orlando Brown . He lumbered through the 40-yard dash in 5.85 seconds. Even by big O-linemen standards, that’s sloth-like slow . It’s the fifth-slowest time by any player at the combine in the last 16 years, and none of the four who were slower were drafted or started a single game in the pros. ”I’ve been fat my whole life,” Brown said earlier this week. ”I wish I was fast.” Brown was projected to get drafted in the first couple of rounds, but his bad week in Indy could prove very costly. His vertical jump was just 19 1/2 inches – nobody has ever gotten drafted with such a bad vertical jump – and his 6-foot-10 broad jump was off-the-charts bad, as well. Historically, offensive tackles post a tad more than 25 reps in the bench press, run the 40-yard dash in 5.24 seconds and average 28.4 inches in the vertical jump and more than 8 1/2 feet in the broad jump. He has another chance to impress at his pro day in a couple of weeks. —
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    Christian Yelich stayed in the game after he was hit on the left knee by Mike Foltynewicz. He tested his legs with an easy jog around the bases. Yelich and Eric Thames scored on Jesus Aguilar’s towering drive to center Authentic Taylor Hall Jersey , capping a five-run third inning and sending the Milwaukee Brewers to a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. Aguilar’s 20th homer traveled an estimated 433 feet. ”It was a good one,” Aguilar said. ”I was just waiting for one pitch. Thankfully, I got it.” Tyler Saladino also homered for the Brewers, who have won five straight to extend their NL Central lead to 2 1/2 games over the second-place Cubs. Rookie Freddy Peralta (4-1) struck out six while pitching six innings of one-run ball. The rookie right-hander has turned into a vital piece of Milwaukee’s rotation. ”Every start you learn something,” he said. After Peralta departed, Atlanta rallied for three runs in the seventh off Jacob Barnes. But the Braves’ rally faltered when they failed to score with two on and no out after Dan Jennings replaced Barnes Womens Will Butcher Jersey , and then left two on with one out in the eighth against Jeremy Jeffress. ”We were a productive out away from tying the game,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. ”We didn’t even need a hit.” Corey Knebel worked around a one-out single in the ninth for his 11th save. Atlanta has lost a season-high four straight and fell into a virtual tie with Philadelphia atop the NL East, with the Phillies leading by percentage points. Foltynewicz (6-5) had allowed five runs over his previous nine starts. He allowed that many in the span of six hitters in the third. Saladino’s two-run shot was his first following a five-week stint on the disabled list due to a sprained left ankle. After Peralta struck out and Thames singled, Yelich was hit by a breaking ball on the inside of his knee. When Yelich reached first, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman kissed his own hand and playfully massaged Yelich’s left knee. Yelich and the Brewers felt better moments later, thanks to Aguilar. ”I left that pitch right over the middle Anders Lee Jersey ,” said Foltynewicz, who struck out seven in six innings. ”His bat path ran right into it.” FOLTYNEWICZ FALTERS Foltynewicz was again felled by one inning. On May 4, he gave up six runs in the second inning against the Giants. In his 93 other innings this season, he has a 1.35 ERA. TRAINER’S ROOM Braves: LHP Max Fried was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand. RHP Evan Phillips was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett. … OF Ronald Acuna Jr. left in the seventh with left groin tightness after beating out an infield single. He was replaced by Charlie Culberson and is day to day. Brewers: LHP Brent Suter was placed on the 10-day disabled list with left forearm tightness. RHP Aaron Wilkerson was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs. … RHP Zach Davies‘ recovery from a sore shoulder hit another snag Friday when his back tightened up during a throwing session. TURANG TAKES OFFER The Brewers announced they had signed first-round draft pick Brice Turang. The prep shortstop had committed to play at LSU. His father, Brian, was originally drafted by the Brewers in 1987 but did not sign. STEWART DOES NOT The Braves failed to sign the eighth overall pick Andrew Ladd Jersey , right-hander Carter Stewart. Atlanta will now receive the ninth pick in the 2019 draft as compensation. UP NEXT Braves: Anibal Sanchez (3-2, 2.89 ERA) gets the ball on Saturday. He has pitched well this season, but carries a 6.37 ERA in eight career starts against the Brewers. Brewers: With Milwaukee’s starting rotation thinned due to injury, Wilkerson will take the mound for his first start this season and third of his career. Two people familiar with the situation say the New Orleans Saints and free-agent safety Kurt Coleman have agreed to terms of a three-year contract. The people spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because the roster move has not been announced. The 29-year-old Coleman is an eight-year veteran out of Ohio State who played the past three seasons for Carolina. He started in all 12 games in which he played last season and made 76 solo or assisted tackles. He also recovered a fumble. Coleman joins a roster that includes safeties Vonn Bell and Marcus Williams, and his addition raises the prospects that fellow safety Kenny Vaccaro, who is set to become a free agent this offseason Anthony Beauvillier Jersey , won’t return to New Orleans, where he began his career in 2013. —
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    Rookie Colin Moran isn’t big on showing emotion http://www.officialkings.com/authentic-adidas-alex-iafallo-jersey , so he took it in stride after hitting his second grand slam of the season. Manager Clint Hurdle, though, put the feat in perspective. ”Two grand slams in a year is pretty cool. Some guys don’t hit one their whole career,” Hurdle said after Moran’s slam helped carry the Pirates to a 7-5 victory against the San Diego Padres on Sunday. ”In his rookie season, too. He hunts pitches. He’s got a lot of confidence when he goes to the plate. He prepares.” In fact, none of Hurdle’s 32 home runs over a 10-year career came with the bases loaded. Corey Dickerson and Elias Diaz also homered for the Pirates, who took two of three games. Moran connected off Tyson Ross with two outs in the fifth to put the Pirates ahead 6-3. He also hit a grand slam in the home opener on April 2, a 5-4 victory against Minnesota. Ross, who singled and then had his first career stolen base a half inning earlier, faltered with two outs in the fifth. Austin Meadows doubled, Josh Bell walked and Josh Harrison beat out an infield single to load the bases. Moran then drove a 1-0 pitch to right for his eighth homer. ”It’s cool,” Moran said of hitting two slams in one season. ”But I guess it was just kind of nice to get some runs in there and get us the lead, so that was the biggest thing.” The only other rookie in Pirates history to hit two grand slams in a season was Wally Westlake in 1947. Moran was the first Pirates player with two grand slams in a season since Jose Bautista in 2006. ”Those are cool things Authentic Artturi Lehkonen Jersey ,” Hurdle said. ”They don’t happen for everybody. They don’t happen to many guys whatsoever. It goes back to preparation, opportunity and then production, and he’s been able to pull that off. … He’s ready to hit. He knows what he’s hunting to hit.” Moran made his big league debut with Houston in 2016, appearing in nine games. He appeared in seven games with Houston last season before being sent to Pittsburgh along with Joe Musgrove and two other players in the deal for Gerrit Cole. Moran had 34 big league at-bats coming into this season. ”He’s one of the calmest people I’ve ever played with,” Dickerson said. ”He just has no emotion. He has a good plan. He does the same thing every day. You don’t ever change stuff up. He’s very simple. Simple sometimes is the best in great moments like that. He came through.” Dickerson homered in the second, his sixth, and Diaz homered leading off the sixth, his sixth. The Padres closed to 7-5 on Wil Myers’ infield RBI single with one out in the sixth and then loaded the bases on Eric Hosmer’s walk. But Steven Brault got Hunter Renfroe to hit a flyball to right that wasn’t deep enough to bring in Jose Pirela, and Kyle Crick struck out pinch-hitter Christian Villanueva. Crick (1-1) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the win. Felipe Vazquez pitched the ninth for his 17th save. Ross (5-6), who has been mentioned in trade rumors, was chased by Diaz’s homer. Ross had his worst start of the season, allowing seven runs and seven hits, with three walks and no strikeouts. ”I didn’t throw the ball particularly well http://www.officialcanadiensprostore.com/authentic-adidas-karl-alzner-jersey ,” Ross said. ”I could’ve been a lot better with two outs and two strikes. That’s kind of where I really got myself into trouble. ”That big fifth inning, had two strikes on Meadows and two outs, and double to left and then everything kind of unfolded from there. Days like this happen. I still had a chance to win that game, just wasn’t able to put hitters away when I had two-strike counts.” Said manager Andy Green: ”You’ve got two outs and nobody on and Tyson on the mound, you kind of like that situation right there. Next thing you know, bases are loaded and one pitch is hit out of the ball park, and that kind of changes the trajectory of the game. It’s a frustrating one.” Pirates starter Jameson Taillon went 4 2-3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, and seven hits while striking out four and walking three. He got the first two outs of the fifth before allowing Renfroe’s homer to left, his fifth, that pulled the Padres to 6-4. Taillon allowed singles to Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje before making way for Edgar Santana, who struck out Freddy Galvis. Ross hit a sacrifice fly that gave the Padres a 2-1 lead in the second. He singled with two outs in the fourth and then got the first stolen base of his career. He was stranded when Manuel Margot grounded out. Renfroe also hit an RBI double in the third. WEATHERS SIGNS The Padres agreed to terms with LHP Ryan Weathers http://www.officialpredators.com/authentic-adidas-ryan-hartman-jersey , their first-round selection, seventh overall, in June’s amateur draft. He is the son of former big league pitcher David Weathers. UP NEXT Pirates: RHP Nick Kingham (2-3, 3.82) is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to start Monday night’s opener of a three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will counter with LHP Alex Wood (4-5, 4.00). Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (7-7, 4.29) is scheduled to start Tuesday night’s opener of a two-game series at Oakland, which counters with RHP Chris Bassitt (1-3, 2.82). Police say New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue was drunk when he drove the wrong way in the Lincoln Tunnel and collided with a jitney bus, injuring four people. The crash happened around 2 a.m. Monday in Weehawken. Port Authority police say an officer saw Donahue drive his car around traffic cones and enter the tunnel. Donahue soon collided with the bus that had 15 people on board. Four bus passengers were treated at a hospital for minor injuries. Donahue and a passenger apparently were not injured. Donahue was a fifth-round draft pick of the Jets last year and played in four games before he suffered a season-ending elbow injury. He’s charged with drunken driving. It’s not known if he has an attorney. A Jets spokesman says the team will not comment because it’s a pending legal matter.
  19. Mark Reynolds may have sent his manager toward a sleepless night. How is Dave Martinez supposed to rest when he’s got to figure out whether Reynolds’ career night earned him another start Sunday? ”Well <a title="DeShone Kizer Jersey" href="http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/deshone-kizer-jersey">DeShone Kizer Jersey</a> , I mean I’m going to sleep just fine. That’s his problem,” Reynolds joked afterward. ”I’ll be ready to go either way.” Reynolds homered twice and drove in a career-high 10 runs, Max Scherzer won for the first time since June 5, and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 18-4 on Saturday night. Martinez said he’ll have to think about where to put the right-handed hitting Reynolds when the Marlins start a right-hander on Sunday. Martinez has other options at first base, including left-handed hitters Matt Adams and Daniel Murphy. Washington has won three straight and scored a combined 35 runs since calling a players-only meeting on Wednesday after falling under .500 for the first time since May 2. Reynolds (5 for 5) tied his career high for hits and equaled the Nationals’ RBI record. Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the second inning into the same visitors’ bullpen where his walk-off homer landed on Friday. He followed that up with an RBI double in the second, a two-run single in the fifth, a three-run homer in the sixth, and a two-run single in the seventh. ”Yeah, that’s like a good two weeks,” Reynolds said. ”These things don’t happen often.” Signed as minor league free agent in April, Reynolds is 12 for 23 with four home runs since June 29. ”I’ve seen him like this,” Martinez said. ”When he gets hot like this he can stay hot for a while, so we’ll have to figure something out, see if we can get him in tomorrow.” Washington, which has won 14 straight against Miami, broke it open by batting around the order and scoring a season-best seven runs in the fifth inning. ”We haven’t had any success with them in a while now,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”They’re a good lineup up and down, but we’ve pitched better than this.” Scherzer (11-5), who was 0-4 in his previous five starts, pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on four hits – three of which were home runs. The Nationals had been shut out in three of Scherzer’s previous five starts. Miami starter Wei-Yin Chen (2-6) lasted 4 1/3 innings <a title="Richard Sherman Jersey" href="http://www.49erscheapstore.com/richard-sherman-jersey-cheap">Richard Sherman Jersey</a> , allowing seven runs on seven hits. Bryce Harper had three hits and an intentional walk. Starlin Castro and J.T. Realmuto hit the first back-to-back home runs of the season for the Marlins in the fourth inning. Yadiel Rivera hit his first homer of the season in the seventh. STREAK SNAPPED The Marlins were 9-0 this season in games in which Realmuto homered before Saturday night. TRAINER’S ROOM Marlins: OF Brian Anderson was out of the lineup for the first time this season. After playing in Miami’s first 90 games, Mattingly said it was time for a breather. … Mattingly said OF Lewis Brinson (right hip) is still sore and ”doing a little treatment, and that’s all.” Nationals: Martinez said RHP Stephen Strasburg (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to go on a rehab assignment Tuesday with the goal of throwing 50-60 pitches. … OF Victor Robles (hyperextended left elbow) and RHP Koda Glover (right shoulder tendinitis) both played in a Gulf Coast League game Friday. Martinez said Glover is ”progressing well” but that he wouldn’t be pitching in back-to-back games. … C Matt Wieters (left hamstring strain) went 1 for 4 in a rehab start with Double-A Harrisburg and is expected to play again on Sunday before being re-evaluated. UP NEXT Marlins: Rookie RHP Trevor Richards (2-5, 5.26 ERA) makes his first start against the Nationals in the series finale. Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (3-10, 4.60 ERA) is looking for his first win since June 6. Roark is 5-8 with a 3.99 ERA in 22 games against the Marlins. The Oakland Athletics will go for their season-high fifth win in a row when they open a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Oakland (38-36) has achieved a four-game winning streak on four occasions this season, including its current stretch, but has yet to make it five. The A’s have outscored opponents 28-15 during this week’s streak, which includes two wins apiece against the Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres. A’s hitters slugged five homers in a 12-4 rout of the Padres on Wednesday. The team already has four players with double-digit blasts, including Khris Davis (20), Matt Olson (15), Jed Lowrie (11) and the injured Matt Chapman (10). “We definitely have some power,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said to the A’s official website. “That’s one of the strengths of the team.” As Oakland is riding a hot streak, Chicago (24-49) is mired in a seven-game losing streak. A loss in the series opener would give the White Sox their worst skid of the season, which is saying something considering the club’s ugly record. White Sox manager Rick Renteria’s club is coming off back-to-back sweeps at the hands of the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. In Wednesday’s series finale, Chicago managed only two hits in a 12-0 loss to the Indians. “It’s tough, but instead of getting frustrated, we have to keep working, use that feeling to work harder,” White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada said to the team’s official website. “There are still plenty of games to play, and we can improve. We can keep getting better, and if it is not this year <a title="Garry Gilliam Jersey" href="http://www.49erscheapstore.com/garry-gilliam-jersey-cheap">Garry Gilliam Jersey</a> , then next year. But definitely the games we have this year, we have a chance to improve.” White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (4-7, 7.19 ERA) will look to improve in his 15th start of the season. The former first-round pick of the Washington Nationals (No. 16 overall in 2012) has terrific potential but has been unable to produce consistent results in his first full season on the South Side. Poor command has plagued Giolito, who has 45 walks in 71 1/3 innings. He also has hit 10 batters, which is tied for most in the majors along with Cole Hamels of the Texas Rangers and Carlos Martinez of the St. Louis Cardinals. This will mark the 23-year-old’s first career appearance against Oakland. For the A’s, right-hander Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.45 ERA) will make his third start of the season. The 29-year-old is seeking his first victory since Aug. 4, 2015, against the Baltimore Orioles. Bassitt is quite familiar with the White Sox, who drafted him in the 16th round in 2011 and developed him in the minors. He went 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA in six appearances (five starts) as a rookie in Chicago in 2014. On Dec. 9, 2014, the White Sox shipped Bassitt, Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley and minor leaguer Rangel Ravelo to Oakland in exchange for Jeff Samardzija and Michael Ynoa. The trade did not pan out as hoped for Chicago, which retained Samardzija for one underwhelming season before he signed as a free agent with the San Francisco Giants. Bassitt has faced the White Sox once in his career. That was in 2016, when he gave up eight hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings, but did not get a decision in Chicago’s 5-4 victory. This will be the first meeting of the season between the teams. Last year, Oakland won the season series 5-1.
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    Aaron Nola was the man Gabe Kapler wanted on the mound with Manny Machado at the plate and the tying run on third base. It was the right move. Nola stuck out nine in seven splendid innings Jimmy Vesey Jersey , Nick Williams hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 Wednesday to sweep a two-game interleague series. Nola (11-2) gave up one run and seven hits to win his fifth straight decision. He escaped a jam on his 103rd pitch when second baseman Cesar Hernandez made an outstanding, over-the-shoulder running catch on Machado’s shallow fly to right with two outs and runners on first and third. ”That’s awesome,” Nola said of the play. Kapler, who was heavily criticized for pulling Nola after 68 pitches in the season opener at Atlanta, visited the mound before letting his ace face Machado with a 2-1 lead. ”We knew he was the best option,” the first-year manager said. ”He always makes us feel confident.” Nola said he would’ve lobbied to stay in but didn’t have to say anything other than he felt fine. ”I want to go deep in the game,” he said. ”I want to get through that inning.” After five consecutive losing seasons Kevin Hayes Jersey , the Phillies are on the rise under Kapler. They pulled within 1 1/2 games of NL East-leading Atlanta and moved 10 games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2011 season with a franchise-record 102 wins. ”It’s a nice milestone, one we can celebrate,” Kapler said. Making his second career start and third appearance, Orioles right-hander Yefry Ramirez (0-2) retired 13 of his first 14 batters before running into trouble in the fifth. Ramirez gave up two runs – one earned – and one hit in five innings. ”I was really proud of Yefry. You couldn’t ask for much better,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. Williams connected off David Hess in the seventh, sending a 409-foot shot into Philadelphia’s bullpen in right-center and extending the lead to 4-1. Victor Arano tossed two scoreless innings for his first career save. Ramirez didn’t allow a hit until Scott Kingery ripped a one-out double to left in the fifth. Williams, who walked Marcedes Lewis Jersey , advanced to third on the hit. Jorge Alfaro followed with a grounder down the first-base line. Chris Davis moved a few steps to his left, took his eyes off the ball to look at Williams running halfway down the line, and the ball knuckled under his glove. Both runners scored on the error. Adam Jones lined an RBI double to left-center in the third, giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead. WELCOMING MANNY For the second straight day, fans clapped each time Machado was introduced. They also chanted ”We want Manny!” The three-time All-Star is set to become a free agent after the season and the Phillies are among the teams interested in acquiring him before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31 or signing him in the offseason. Machado told reporters before the game he wants to play shortstop wherever he goes and he wouldn’t be surprised if Philadelphia aggressively pursued him. Phillies team president Andy MacPhail held the same position in Baltimore when the Orioles selected Machado No. 3 overall in the 2010 amateur draft. TRAINER’S ROOM Orioles: OF Joey Rickard was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to replace OF Colby Rasmus, who was placed on the restricted list before Tuesday night’s game. Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff was scheduled to throw another live batting practice at Single-A Clearwater. Eickhoff has nerve issue in fingers and hasn’t pitched this season. UP NEXT Orioles: RHP Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.48 ERA) starts the opener of a four-game series at Minnesota on Thursday night. Cashner had a 3.21 ERA in five starts in June but didn’t earn a win. Phillies: Nick Pivetta (5-7 Muhammad Wilkerson Jersey , 4.66 ERA) takes the mound at Pittsburgh for the start of a three-game series on Friday. Pivetta earned the win in a scoreless inning of relief in Philadelphia’s 13-inning victory over Washington last Sunday. — The New York Yankees won’t have All-Star catcher Gary Sanchez for at least a few weeks. Sanchez was put on the 10-day disabled list Monday because of a strained right groin. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before New York’s game at Philadelphia that Sanchez is expected to miss up to four weeks with a Grade 1 strain. Austine Romine replaced Sanchez in the starting lineup. The Yankees also optioned outfielder Clint Frazier to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and recalled catcher Kyle Higashioka and right-hander Giovanny Gallegos from the minors. Sanchez was hurt Sunday while running out a double-play grounder at Tampa Bay. ”Gary Sanchez out of your lineup, that’s a big deal,” Boone said. ”But we’ll take the positive out of it. Ro has done a great job obviously this year for us. It’s an opportunity for Higashioka to get up here and hopefully everyone can pick up the slack a little bit in his absence, but we feel like will be OK offensively.” The 25-year-old Sanchez is hitting .190 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs, a season after he made the AL All-Star team while batting .278 with 33 homers and 90 RBIs. Frazier hit .350 in eight games after recently being promoted from the minors. The Yankees have the best record in the majors at 50-25. —
  21. Ian Desmond Youth Rashaad Penny Jersey , Trevor Story and Colorado starter Chad Bettis each had quite a return to Texas in a record comeback for the Rockies. Playing his first game in Texas since being an All-Star center fielder in his only season for the Rangers, Desmond homered twice. Story had a pair of RBI hits in his first big league game at home and fellow Texas native Bettis overcame a tough first inning as the Rockies won 9-5 in the opener of an interleague series Friday night. ”Lot of emotion,” said Desmond, who went to Colorado in free agency after playing for Texas in 2016. ”Good time to have a good game.” Desmond, a converted shortstop and now the primary first baseman for the Rockies, homered leading off the second inning. That ignited a six-run outburst after Bettis (5-1) allowed two-run homers to Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo in a five-run Texas first. The Rangers didn’t score again against Bettis, who made it 5 2/3 innings – or any of the three Rockies relievers. ”For them to get six there right after I had given up five was huge,” said Bettis, who is from Lubbock and pitched at Texas Tech. ”I needed to go out there and show these guys thanks for picking me up.” The last time the Rockies won after trailing by five runs after the first inning was against Atlanta on Sept. 24, 2006, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They had never had such a comeback on the road until Friday night. ”Yeah, it was (surprising). I felt like our guys there in the first, the approach was solid,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. ”They were getting some pitches to hit. In the second, we grounded into a double play when we had a run-scoring opportunity. … I felt like that once Colorado got the six runs, an experienced pitcher settled in and started making some pitches.” Texas has a seven-game losing streak, its longest of the season. The Rockies had lost five of their previous six. Story grew up about 15 minutes away from the Rangers’ ballpark before he was the 45th overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Rockies out of Irving High School. The shortstop, who still lives in the area in the offseason Youth Shaquem Griffin Jersey , leads the National League with 52 RBIs. After Desmond’s homer in the second off Yohander Mendez (0-1), the lefty making his first big league start, D.J. LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon had consecutive RBI singles before Nolan Arenado snapped a career-worst 0-for-19 slump with a two-run double. Story then had the tiebreaking RBI single. ”Yeah, it was special. I grew up loving the Rangers, so coming here I’ve always dreamed of playing in this stadium,” Story said. ”It was kind of surreal at first and I was a little nervous at first. Those kind of went away pretty quick.” ROCKIES GOING DEEP Arenado led off the ninth with his 13th homer. … Desmond’s second homer, in the fifth, was his 14th of the season for his fifth career multihomer game. … Desmond was only 10th Rockies player with a multihomer game in an interleague road game, the first since Blackmon at Yankee Stadium in 2016. … Desmond is the first Rockies player to homer twice at Texas. BIG INNING The six-run second was the highest scoring inning this season for Colorado, and the most in an American League ballpark since eight in the 10th inning of a game at Detroit on June 15, 2012. TRAINER’S ROOM Rockies: RHP Carlos Estevez, who has been out all season with a left oblique and elbow strain, threw a bullpen session. Manager Bud Black said he threw all of his pitched at a high-level intensity and is ”really gaining momentum.” Rangers: Carlos Perez, starting in place of Chirinos, rolled his right ankle extending to catch a ball in the top of the second inning. Jose Trevino, recalled from Double-A Frisco, made his big league when he batted for Perez in the bottom of the inning and then stayed in the game as the catcher. … RF Nomar Mazara was a late scratch from the lineup because of left wrist soreness. … Right-handed relievers Matt Bush (right elbow strain) and Chris Martin (right calf strain) were put on the 10-day DL. UP NEXT Lefty Kyle Freeland (6-6), the Denver native who was 4-0 in interleague starts as a rookie last season http://www.coltsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-braden-smith-jersey , takes the mound for the Rockies in the first of consecutive day games to close out the interleague series. Rangers left-hander Mike Minor (4-4) is working on extended six days of rest after Texas had two off days during the week. — Mark Reynolds homered twice and drove in a career-high 10 runs, Max Scherzer won for the first time since June 5, and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 18-4 on Saturday night. Washington has won three straight and scored a combined 35 runs since calling a players-only meeting on Wednesday after falling under .500 for the first time since May 2. Reynolds (5 for 5) tied his career high for hits and equaled the Nationals’ RBI record. Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the second inning into the same visitors’ bullpen where his walk-off homer landed on Friday. He followed that up with an RBI double in the second, a two-run single in the fifth, a three-run homer in the sixth, and a two-run single in the seventh. Washington, which has won 14 straight against Miami, broke it open by batting around the order and scoring a season-best seven runs in the fifth inning. Scherzer (11-5), who was 0-4 in his previous five starts, pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on four hits – three of which were home runs. The Nationals had been shut out in three of Scherzer’s previous five starts. Miami starter Wei-Yin Chen (2-6) lasted 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits. Bryce Harper had three hits and an intentional walk. Starlin Castro and J.T. Realmuto hit the first back-to-back home runs of the season for the Marlins in the fourth inning. Yadiel Rivera hit his first homer of the season in the seventh. TRAINER’S ROOM Marlins: OF Brian Anderson was out of the lineup for the first time this season. After playing in Miami’s first 90 games, manager Don Mattingly said it was time for a breather. . Mattingly said OF Lewis Brinson (right hip) is still sore and ”doing a little treatment, and that’s all.” Nationals: Manager Dave Martinez said that RHP Stephen Strasburg (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to go on a rehab assignment Tuesday with the goal of throwing 50-60 pitches. . OF Victor Robles (hyperextended left elbow) and RHP Koda Glover (right shoulder tendinitis) both played in a Gulf Coast League game Friday. Martinez said Glover is ”progressing well” but that he wouldn’t be pitching in back-to-back games. . C Matt Wieters (left hamstring strain) went 1 for 4 in a rehab start with Double-A Harrisburg and is expected to play again on Sunday before being re-evaluated. UP NEXT Marlins: Rookie RHP Trevor Richards (2-5, 5.26 ERA) makes his first start against the Nationals in the series finale. Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (3-10, 4.60 ERA) is looking for his first win since June 6. Roark is 5-8 with a 3.99 ERA in 22 games against the Marlins.
  22. The Houston Astros‘ offense looks to be back on track. After totaling 21 runs in their previous seven games <a title="Authentic Dorian O'Daniel Jersey" href="http://www.kansascitychiefsteamonline.com/dorian-o_daniel-jersey">Authentic Dorian O'Daniel Jersey</a> , the World Series champs have scored in double-figures in each of their last two. Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman each homered and Charlie Morton won his 11th as the Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 12-6 Saturday for their fifth straight win. ”I think we’re swinging the bats well and playing good baseball,” Bregman said. ”I think offensively, we have a done a good job of passing the baton to the next guy, and if we continue to do that, we will be successful.” Morton (11-2) allowed five runs and five hits with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander has won four of his last five starts. ”I feel bad for Charlie because he got a little nickel and dimed at the end with a few soft hits and an ill-timed walk and then a well-placed, bases-clearing double,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. ”I thought his stuff was really good at the end. . That saying that he pitched better than the line indicates, that’s going to be the day today. Still a winning pitcher, still a guy that gave us a chance to win.” James Shields (3-10) allowed a season high-tying eight runs on a season-high 10 hits with nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings for the White Sox, who have lost four straight. Shields had allowed one run over his prior two starts. ”Just wasn’t my day today,” Shields said. ”I’m just not really happy about not going deep in the game. I’m really trying to save this bullpen. These guys are taxed. I really wanted the ball and be that guy to go deeper in the game.” Gurriel, who also had an RBI single in the eighth <a title="Authentic John Franklin-Myers Jersey" href="http://www.losangelesramsteamonline.com/john-franklin-myers-jersey">Authentic John Franklin-Myers Jersey</a> , hit a three-run homer to left field to increase Houston’s lead to 4-0 in the third inning. Josh Reddick had a run-scoring fielder’s choice and Evan Gattis added an RBI single to push the Astros’ advantage to 6-1 in the fifth. However, Matt Davidson had an RBI single with the bases loaded and Omar Narvaez followed with a three-run double to pull Chicago within one in the sixth, chasing Morton. Bregman’s two-run homer in the bottom of the inning extended Houston’s lead back to three. ”A 2-0 count, I was trying to get something over the middle of the plate,” Bregman said. ”I was fortunate enough to put a good swing on it.” Bregman finished a triple shy of the cycle to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. ”He’s doing everything right in the batter’s box as far as seeing the ball, his selectiveness, his approach is A-plus,” Hinch said. ”Bat-to-ball has been exceptional.” Max Stassi hit an RBI double in the second and an RBI single in the eighth for the Astros. Marwin Gonzalez added an RBI single in the seventh as every Houston starter had a hit. Houston won 11-4 Friday night. ”It’s an excellent ball club, let’s face it they’ve got guys that swing the bat up and down the lineup,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said of the Astros. ”They’ve got an air of confidence that they play with, which comes with the things that they’ve accomplished. It’s natural.” Avisail Garcia hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth and a solo home run on to the train tracks in left in the eighth for Chicago. Garcia has five home runs in his last six games. TUCKER PROMOTED The Astros promoted top prospect, outfielder Kyle Tucker from Triple-A Fresno. Tucker <a title="Kenny Clark Jersey" href="http://www.packerscheapstore.com/kenny-clark-jersey-cheap">Kenny Clark Jersey</a> , who was named to the Pacific Coast League’s All Star team, was hitting .306 with 14 home runs and 66 RBIs. He went 1 for 4 with a single and run scored in the seventh and an RBI walk in the eighth to go along with three strikeouts. The Astros optioned outfielder Jake Marisnick to Fresno in a corresponding move. TRAINER’S ROOM White Sox: SS Tim Anderson returned to the lineup. Anderson was out Friday after being hit on the left forearm the previous day. Anderson went 0 for 4 and reached on an error in the fifth. UP NEXT White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (5-7) will make his 18th start of the season in the series finale. Giolito is 2-3 with a 7.50 ERA in his last eight stars and gave up nine runs in two innings in his last start against the Astros on April 21. Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (5-8) is looking for his third straight win. Keuchel allowed two runs over seven innings in his last start Tuesday against the Rangers. — Tom Brady is not looking to have the radio host who called his daughter ”an annoying little pissant” to lose his job. The Patriots quarterback said early Monday he’s reconsidering whether to continue a long-running weekly radio appearance with the station. Hours later at the Super Bowl media night, he was asked about the incident in which WEEI host Alex Reimer made the remarks about Brady’s 5-year-old daughter after watching the first episode of a Brady documentary called ”Tom vs. Time” that is airing on Facebook. Reimer’s show aired Thursday, four days before Brady’s weekly morning radio segment with different hosts. ”I didn’t hear too much about it. I didn’t get into it much,” Brady said at the Xcel Center. ”I certainly hope the guy is not fired. ”I just know everybody is real protective of their kids. I never stayed away from criticism. I understand that criticism is part of sports. But I certainly don’t think that my children or anybody else’s children deserve to be in that. And that’s what I said.” Brady cut short an appearance on Monday morning and said, ”I’ll obviously evaluate whether I want to come on this show again. ”It’s very disappointing when you hear that certainly with my daughter or any child. They certainly don’t deserve that.” The station says Reimer has been suspended indefinitely. The Patriots and the station recently announced an extension of their agreement, which involves weekly calls from Brady and coach Bill Belichick. The five-time Super Bowl champions will play for their sixth ring against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Brady expressed no regrets about doing the Facebook series. ”I thought it was fun. I thought it was a great opportunity,” he said. ”The fans like it. And that’s really what we were looking for.” He said his son will be in an upcoming episode that features their summer trip to China. Patriots safety Devin McCourty praised Brady defending his daughter. ”It’s always easy to defend our families,” McCourty noted. ”I thought that was very disappointing to see anyone say anything negative toward his daughter, or anything about your family. Really poor taste. ”But I think as always Tom handled it in the right way with something like that. But I think with all of us that’s one thing that we’re gonna tolerate is anything toward our family.” —
  23. The Minnesota Vikings Authentic Preston Brown Jersey , after watching their late-third-quarter 17-point lead vanish at the hands of the indefatigable Drew Brees, went back in front of the New Orleans Saints on a field goal with 1:29 left. Trailing by two with that much time? That was no trouble for Brees, who moved the Saints in position for the responding field goal with 25 seconds remaining. The problem was they left just enough space for Case Keenum and the Vikings to answer with one of the NFL’s all-time last-play stunners. Keenum completed his last-ditch heave near the sideline Sunday on the game’s final play to Stefon Diggs, who slithered away from the Saints for a 61-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 29-24 victory and a spot in the NFC championship game at Philadelphia. ”I don’t know what the percentage was,” Keenum said, ”but just try to give the guy a chance.” The play the Vikings ran, believe it or not, is called ”Seven Heaven.” Kyle Rudolph, Jarius Wright and Diggs all ran sideline routes from the right of the formation, with Diggs the deepest with his break coming at about 25 yards. This wasn’t quite as improbable of a play as Franco Harris on the Immaculate Reception for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1972 playoffs , which was also in the divisional round, but these Vikings are on some kind of special path. The Vikings were out of timeouts and nearly out of options when Keenum took the snap with 10 seconds left and dropped back from his 39-yard line. He lofted a throw to Diggs, who jumped in front of Marcus Williams before the Saints rookie whiffed on his awkward attempt to cut underneath Diggs for a tackle. Nobody was behind him in the secondary, as Diggs knew before he pivoted to keep his balance, keep his feet in bounds and keep running across the goal line. ”I had a pretty good view of it Authentic Chad Thomas Jersey ,” Rudolph said. ”I couldn’t believe it. Things just don’t work out that way.” Particularly for the Vikings, whose previous victory in the playoffs had been after the 2009 season at home against Dallas in the divisional round. They lost in overtime the following week in the NFC championship game that year at New Orleans, one of the many late collapses in team lore that have conditioned Minnesotans to brace for the worst. So while only defensive end Brian Robison is still around from that painful loss to the Saints, this thriller at least served as a leveler of sorts for a fan base accustomed to being on the other side. ”It’s a turning point for everybody,” Diggs said. ”The majority of people doubt us. They don’t think it’s going to happen, especially because of history. People have a way of saying history repeats itself. I guess this is not one of those cases.” Now the Vikings can become the first team to play in a Super Bowl on their home turf, if they beat the Eagles. Instead of the usual win-or-go-home stakes, they’re in a win-and-go-home situation. ”It would’ve been nice to be home, but I feel like if we take care of business the way we’re supposed to we’ll have another chance to see our fans,” Diggs said. Here are some other key developments during the game: NOT-SO-HAPPY BIRTHDAY Brees will turn 39 on Monday, a celebration that’s sure to be muted so soon after this crushing loss. After finishing 7-9 in four of the previous five seasons, the Saints were one of the NFL’s biggest breakout stories in 2017 with an energized and revamped defense and the potent running back tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. But how long will Brees, whose contract is expiring, want to stick around with a Super Bowl ring already in hand? ”I’m more toward the end of my career than I am at the beginning, I know that Youth Tyquan Lewis Jersey ,” Brees said. ”That’s all I’ll divulge.” PICKED OFF Brees finished 25 for 40 for 294 yards and three touchdowns, all in the final 16:16 of the game, but his performance was tainted a bit by two costly interceptions before halftime. One came on a leaping grab by safety Andrew Sendejo that set up a touchdown drive for the Vikings in the second quarter. The other came off a tip by Everson Griffen at the line that sent the ball fluttering into Anthony Barr’s arms at the Minnesota 10-yard line to thwart the next possession. Ted Ginn had broken open on a post pattern on the first one, a first-and-10 play from the New Orleans 15, and Brees saw an opportunity. ”I just forced it. There was no reason to do that,” Brees said. FORBATH FINISHES STRONG Kai Forbath missed a 49-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds of the first half, but he was good from the same distance in the fourth quarter and again from 53 yards to put the Vikings up 23-21 with 89 seconds to go. That gave him three makes against the team that cut him right before the 2016 season in favor of Wil Lutz, whose 43-yard kick gave the Saints the lead before the Keenum-to-Diggs stunner. ”I was ready to kick another one,” Forbath said, ”but what an incredible way to win.” WOE FOR WILLIAMS Williams was sobbing in front of his cubicle in the locker room afterward, his face buried in a folded white towel, before composing himself for a stand-up performance in front of the assembled press. ”I’m going to take it upon myself,” Williams said, ”to make sure nothing like this happens again to me.” — Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch might want to consider giving Jose Altuve more days off. A night after he was out of the starting lineup for the first time all season, the 2017 American League MVP homered twice Youth Dante Pettis Jersey , including the last of three straight by the Astros in the sixth inning, to lift Houston to a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night. Altuve, who pinch-hit in the ninth inning on Tuesday night, said getting a little break gave him a chance to regroup. ”It felt good. It’s always good to sit down and think about how you feel,” he said. ”And I came back strong today.” The game was tied in the bottom of the sixth when George Springer’s 15th homer this season made it 2-1. Two pitches later Alex Bregman sent an 87 mph slider from Rays’ starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-3) into the seats in left field for his 11th home run. But the Astros weren’t done yet, as Altuve put one on the train tracks atop left field for the second time on Wednesday night to push the lead to 4-1. It was the first time the Astros had hit three home runs in a row since May 2, 2008 when Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee did it against the Milwaukee Brewers. Altuve got a little amped up after seeing the balls by Springer and Bregman leave the yard, and once he got in a hitter’s count he was looking for a ball to drive. ”There was a lot going on in that inning and I got a little excited,” he said. It was a welcome display of power for a team which managed just five singles in a 2-1 loss to the Rays on Tuesday night that snapped Houston’s 12-game winning streak. Wednesday night’s win made the Astros the first team to reach 50 victories this season. ”It was a pretty electrifying crowd after three home runs one after another after another,” manager A.J. Hinch said. ”Obviously, it was a huge inning for us. What energy that got put back into the building and also our team. Pretty impressive.” Houston starter Charlie Morton (9-1) allowed just two hits and one unearned run in six innings for the win. Eovaldi, who grew up in suburban Houston, entered the game 1-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four career starts against the Astros. But he allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings for his third straight loss. ”It’s just a matter of time before that offense gets you,” manager Kevin Cash said. ”He was efficient Dave Robinson Jersey , they made some adjustments, but it was a lot of power and by that third time through, it kind of caught up. It’s just a very talented offense.” Jake Bauers doubled with two outs in the first inning before Morton walked Wilson Ramos and plunked Joey Wendle to load the bases. But he escaped the jam when left fielder Tony Kemp made a diving catch on a ball hit by Willy Adames to end the inning. ”That’s probably the highlight of the game defensively for us just because a lot of things can happen there,” Hinch said. ”We’re playing a little bit deep, it looked like he got a little bit of a late start and then comes in with an acrobatic catch.” Mallex Smith singled with one out in the fourth and scored when Carlos Gomez grounded out and first baseman Yuli Gurriel badly overthrew first base for an error to make it 1-0. Altuve tied it up with his first home run of the night with one out in the fourth. It was the first multi-homer game in the regular season since July 24, 2016 for Altuve, who hit a career-best three in Game 1 of the ALDS against Boston last season. The Astros added a run on an RBI single by Kemp with one out in the seventh. TRAINER’S ROOM Astros: Hinch said RHP Joe Smith (right elbow inflammation) was feeling a lot better on Wednesday and is likely to throw off the mound either this weekend or early next week. Rays: Manager Kevin Cash said INF Daniel Robertson (left hamstring strain) is doing well and should come off the disabled list on Friday. KIERMAIER’S STRUGGLES Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts after going 0 for 5 on Wednesday night in his first game back after missing more than two months following thumb surgery. His slump is a continuation of the struggles he had before the injury and he’s hitting just .135 in 14 games this season. ”Unfortunately, K.K. just got off to a rough start and takes a month or two months off,” Cash said. ”The numbers are going to be ugly for a little while, but I’m very confident he’ll get going.” UP NEXT Rays: Tampa Bay is off on Thursday before beginning a three-game series with the New York Yankees on Friday. They have yet to announce their pitching rotation for that series. Astros: Houston also has a day off on Thursday before hosting Kansas City in the opener of a three-game series on Friday. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-8, 4.15 ERA), who got his first win since May 13 in his last start, will oppose Royals‘ lefty Danny Duffy. —
  24. Standing in foul territory Authentic Phillip Gaines Jersey , Steven Matz stared at the ball he had just mishandled and started to give it an angry kick, then changed his mind and instead just picked it up. Matz and the New York Mets keep their cool Sunday, barely, overcoming three errors and escaping the NL East cellar after a one-day stay by beating the Miami Marlins 5-2. The Mets, who endured their worst June ever, won for only the second time in the past 12 games to reach the season’s halfway point at 33-48. ”We’re all disappointed with where we’re at,” Matz said. ”We had higher expectations. We’re just going to keep pushing.” Matz (4-5) did that in the series finale, when he pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed only an unearned run. It scored on his error, and he worked around misplays by two teammates – an encouraging sign from a pitcher still learning not to let setbacks snowball. ”You still see him get a little flustered out there,” manager Mickey Callaway said. ”But he regroups and makes the next pitch. Today he won the game for us because he did that, because they easily could have tacked on some runs there early. He held them right where he needed to hold them.” New York’s bullpen leads the majors in losses but limited Miami to one hit in the final 3 2/3 innings. Jeurys Familia completed the four-hitter with a perfect ninth for his 15th save. Asdrubal Cabrera hit his 14th homer off Dan Straily (3-4). Todd Frazier had two hits and scored three times, and Kevin Plawecki doubled home New York’s first run. Straily allowed three runs in seven innings, matching his longest outing of the year. Cameron Maybin hit his first homer for the Marlins, but they slipped back into last place in the division. ”We just didn’t do a whole lot with Matz,” manager Don Mattingly said. ”That’s probably the best I’ve seen him.” Matz loaded the bases with two out in the second by walking Straily, an .056 career hitter, but then struck out Starlin Castro to escape. Matz also reached behind his legs to snare Lewis Brinson’s grounder and retire him in the fourth. But the left-hander failed to come up with Straily’s safety squeeze bunt with two out in the inning Authentic Marshall Newhouse Jersey , allowing Miguel Rojas to score from third. ”If I had taken my time I would have had him, but I rushed it,” Matz said. MISCUES Callaway talked before the game about how the Mets needed to play better defense, but they didn’t. Second baseman Cabrera and third baseman Frazier misplayed grounders for errors. Miami misplays in the eighth led to the Mets’ final two runs. Center fielder Brinson failed to catch Frazier’s drive after a long sprint, and the play was ruled an RBI double. ”He probably should have caught that,” Mattingly said. ”I know they gave him a hit there, but if you ask him he gets to that ball and catches that pretty much all the time.” Frazier then came home on a wild pickoff throw by catcher J.T. Realmuto. UNEXPECTED CONTRIBUTION Matz was 2 for 26 this year before he hit a two-out single in the fourth for his first RBI of the season. ”I was in a slump,” he said, ”but I’m out of it now.” NIMMO SLUMP The Mets’ Brandon Nimmo, hit by a pitch on his right hand a week ago, went 0 for 5 and is in a 1-for-19 slump. ”I’m super late. My bat speed is not there,” he said. ”But my hand feels fine.” TRAINER’S ROOM Mets: INF Dominic Smith, who had a cortisone shot for his sore right wrist, pinch-hit in the eighth and flied out. … OF Jay Bruce (hip) is expected to begin taking batting practice in the next few days. UP NEXT Mets: After an off day, RHP Zack Wheeler (2-6, 4.47) is scheduled to start Tuesday at Toronto. Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-5, 6.14) is scheduled to start Monday against Tampa Bay to begin a three-game series. — Well Authentic Marquis Haynes Jersey , that didn’t last long. The Los Angeles Rams’ first playoff appearance in 13 seasons came to a quick end Saturday night when the young, upstart team led by the NFL’s youngest coach was schooled by Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons, who won the wild-card game 26-13. It was the Rams’ first playoff game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since 1979 and their first in Southern California since 1986. Only six Rams players had playoff experience, including left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who went 0-6 with the Cincinnati Bengals. Whitworth said it was natural that players would be nervous in their first playoff appearance. However, second-year quarterback Jared Goff downplayed the team’s lack of postseason experience. ”I think they played better than we did,” Goff said. ”Playoff inexperience, I don’t know what that means. Each game’s the same. This one has a little bit more meaning to it, of course. But we did not play well. And if we played like this two weeks ago against the same team, we would have lost as well.” The Rams fell behind 13-0 thanks to two special teams gaffes by Pro Bowler Pharoh Cooper. Todd Gurley got going too late to help, although he did finish with 101 yards rushing. Goff made some nice passes, but also had some misses and watched his teammates make some drops. Cooper fumbled on a kickoff return late in the first quarter when he was hit by Damontae Kazee, with Kemal Ishmael recovering at the Rams 32. Devonta Freeman capped the short drive with a 3-yard scoring run to give the Falcons a 13-0 lead. Matt Bryant kicked field goals of 29 and 51 yards in the first quarter. The Falcons, who blew a 28-3 lead in last season’s Super Bowl, had their first score set up by a special teams blunder by the Rams that allowed Atlanta to almost completely flip the field. With the Falcons forced to punt from their 14, Cooper was indecisive and let the ball bounce at about the L.A. 40. It hit off Blake Countess’ foot during a wild scramble that ended with LaRoy Reynolds recovering at the Rams 17. The Falcons had to settle for Bryant’s 29-yarder. He kicked a 51-yarder on Atlanta’s next possession. Cooper took the blame for the miscues. He said he should have protected the ball better on the kickoff return. On the punt, he said he needed to take control of the situation by yelling ”Poison Authentic Cordy Glenn Jersey ,” as in, get away from the ball. ”They’ve been so good for us all year,” Goff said. ”They’ve won so many games for us. You can go look throughout the whole season how many games those guys, in particular Pharoh, have contributed to and put us in good field position. The first one was a freak one and the second one I know he’d like to have back. He’s a Pro Bowl returner and has done such a good job this year. I know we wouldn’t want anyone (else) back there.” The Rams had gone from 4-12 in 2016, their first season back in Los Angeles after 22 years in St. Louis, to 11-5 and the NFC West championship under first-year coach Sean McVay. The Rams were hosting their first playoff game in the Coliseum since Jan. 7, 1979, when they lost 28-0 to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC championship game. It was their first playoff game in Southern California since Jan. 4, 1986, when they beat the Cowboys 20-0 at Anaheim Stadium. McVay was born 20 days after that game. The Rams moved to St. Louis after the 1994 season and won their only Super Bowl after the 1999 season. They moved back to L.A. prior to the 2016 season. ”It’s hard,” Goff said. ”We didn’t want this to end at all. We’ve got such a special group of dudes in there, coaches and everybody. It’s such a special group. You don’t want it to end this early by any means. But I think we have a good, strong core group we’ve built this year.” —
  25. For fans of the Minnesota Vikings Authentic Pernell McPhee Jersey , at least the ones old enough to drive, there’s a score to be settled with the New Orleans Saints. Eight years ago, the last Minnesota team considered a strong Super Bowl contender was on the verge of victory in New Orleans in the NFC championship game despite four earlier turnovers inside the raucous Superdome. That was until the infamous 12-men-in-the-huddle penalty with 19 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter pushed the Vikings out of field goal range and preceded Brett Favre’s ill-fated throw across his body that was intercepted by Tracy Porter to force overtime and steer the Saints toward the franchise’s only title. The bitterness in Minnesota toward the team in black and gold only increased two years later when an NFL investigation concluded then-New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams encouraged a bounty system designed to financially reward players for hitting and injuring Favre. There’s only one player, defensive end Brian Robison, who’s still around from that season, however. That painful stumble at the end of the most important game the Vikings have played in almost two decades doesn’t mean much at all to the guys on the 2017 roster. ”We just have to come out and play our game, regardless of who’s mad at who for whatever reason,” wide receiver Jarius Wright said. Head coach Mike Zimmer was actually sitting in the seats that evening, with his defensive coordinator duties for Cincinnati on break with the Bengals already eliminated from the playoffs. His son, Adam Zimmer, was an assistant linebackers coach for New Orleans that year. ”I was just sitting there observing. I wasn’t really rooting for anybody or anything like that,” Zimmer said, before revealing his drink of choice on Bourbon Street that day: ”I had some of those hurricanes.” For these Vikings, the Saints simply represent their first obstacle to being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its home stadium. They had to wait until the very end of their bye week to find out who they would be facing in the divisional round game, with the Saints topping the Carolina Panthers 31-26 in New Orleans on Sunday night. ”I think they understand the magnitude of where we’re at in the playoffs and that New Orleans is a heck of a football team,” Zimmer said on Monday afternoon Authentic Anthony Averett Jersey , when the Vikings reconvened for preparation. The Vikings beat the Saints 29-19 in the season opener , when Sam Bradford was their quarterback and Dalvin Cook was the running back for an offense that took full advantage of a young defense trying to get set. The Saints also still had Adrian Peterson in their backfield then, before trading him to the Arizona Cardinals and clearing space for rookie Alvin Kamara to elevate his role next to Mark Ingram. ”From the first time we played them to now, it’s totally different,” Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. For both teams, really. September was so long ago. ”I would expect that they’ve kind of grown into their own identity now,” Saints linebacker Manti Te’o said. ”I don’t expect to see the same team that we saw Week 1, and I know they don’t expect to see the same team they saw in Week 1, too.” Bradford has resumed practicing, but he likely will remain on injured reserve this week with Teddy Bridgewater backing up Case Keenum at quarterback. ”We’ll just take our time,” Zimmer said of Bradford’s status, ”and see how it goes.” — Joey Votto hit a grand slam and celebrated with a flap, honoring the bird that prolonged his at-bat. Votto ended a long homer drought with his third career grand slam Tuesday night, powering the Cincinnati Reds to a 9-5 victory that ended the Detroit Tigers‘ longest winning streak in two years. Votto came to bat with the bases loaded in the third inning of a scoreless game. A black bird wandered between the plate and the pitcher’s mound, prompting Votto to call time so he could try to shoo it away. The bird stayed in the middle of the infield. ”He was in the line of vision and I was going to try to swat it away,” Votto said. ”I was thinking Authentic Russell Bodine Jersey , `Make sure to hit the ball in the air’ and `Don’t hit it on the ground up the middle.’ I was taking care of the bird.” Votto’s high fly ball to right field off Matthew Boyd (4-5) had just enough to avoid the outstretched glove of Nicholas Castellanos, who reached over the wall and barely missed it. Votto flapped his arms in tribute to the bird when he crossed the plate on his first homer since May 13, ending a 30-game drought. Votto’s last homer at Great American Ball Park was May 6. He has seven homers after hitting 36 last season, one shy of his career high. ”I would like to think it’s all part of the season,” Votto said. ”I felt good. I have felt good. I’ve been swinging the bat well.” Sal Romano (4-7) had a second straight solid outing, limiting the Tigers to four singles over seven shutout innings. Billy Hamilton also homered as the Reds pulled away to a 9-0 lead. The Tigers had won five straight and moved within a game of .500. They haven’t been to the break-even mark since they were a season-best 4-4 on April 8. They’ve wasted five chances to get back. Romano was coming off perhaps his best performance in the majors. He went a career-high eight innings and gave up one run during a 5-1 win at Kansas City on Tuesday. Trailing 9-0, Detroit finally broke through in the ninth when Wandy Peralta walked home a run and Leonys Martin followed with a double. Boyd walked three batters in four innings – all of them scored – and gave up a season-high five runs. He was most upset with the two walks that set up the first grand slam he’s allowed in his career. ”Walks will kill you,” Boyd said. ”Things like that (grand slam) are going to happen in this ballpark, especially when the wind is blowing out.” INTERLEAGUE The Reds are 12-11 against the Tigers all-time. This season, the Tigers are 1-6 in interleague play. The Reds are 5-1. BIRD IS THE WORD The bird that wandered onto the field during Votto’s at-bat didn’t go away. It made a mound visit and later explored other parts of the field. Fans cheered when it was shown on the video board. INTERESTING DESIGN The outfield grass showed the effects of a concert at Great American Ball Park on Saturday, when high heat and the field covering left yellow patterns in the stressed grass. STATS Martin reached in all five plate appearances, going 3 for 3 with two walks. … Cincinnati’s Tucker Barnhart also reached in all five plate appearances, going 3 for 3 with a walk. He also was hit by a pitch. … Eugenio Suarez singled to extend his hitting streak to nine games, the longest active streak on the Reds and one shy of his career high. REDS MOVE The Reds called up RH reliever Jackson Stephens and optioned RH reliever Austin Brice to Triple-A Louisville. Stephens was 0-0 with a 4.20 ERA in nine appearances for the Reds earlier this season. TRAINER’S ROOM Tigers: Reliever Drew VerHagen left the game in the seventh after getting hit in the face with a throw while covering first base. He broke his nose and had it reset. Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Tigers were working on bringing up another reliever. Reds: RH Homer Bailey will be re-examined on Tuesday. He’s been sidelined since June 2 with a sore right knee. UP NEXT Tigers: Michael Fulmer (2-5) has gone seven innings and allowed one run in each of his last two starts. He’s never faced the Reds. Reds: Tyler Mahle (5-6) is 2-0 with a 1.10 ERA in three starts in June, allowing two runs in 16 1/3 innings. He’s never faced the Tigers. —
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