Red Sox-White Sox Preview -
Wednesday night’s game between the Chicago White Sox and visiting Boston Red Sox was scheduled to be a potential duel between two of this season’s most successful starting pitchers.
Instead, Chicago will send Hector Santiago to the mound in place of the injured Chris Sale to oppose Clay Buchholz as it goes for its first series sweep of the season.
Sale, 4-0 with a 1.18 ERA in his last five starts, hasn’t allowed a run in 23 straight innings, and his six-start streak of lasting at least seven while allowing fewer than three earned runs is the longest by a White Sox starter since Mark Buehrle’s seven-start run in 2007.
Chicago announced Tuesday, though, that the left-hander had been scratched from this start due to mild tendinitis in his shoulder.
Santiago (1-2, 2.78 ERA) will take the hill in Sale’s place. He has gone 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA in four starts since making his first May 2, but he walked four and gave up three runs in 3 1-3 innings of Chicago’s 12-9 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.
He said he noticed his high pitch count in the fourth before being removed.
“I’m never like that. I go inning by inning. If I go five, if I go seven, it doesn’t matter,” Santiago said. “(I’m) just trying to make better pitches.”
The only time Santiago, who has yet to make a start at home this season, has faced Boston was July 18, when he allowed two runs in three innings of relief in Chicago’s 10-1 loss.
He seeks a better performance this time around for the White Sox (21-23), who have won six of nine after Jose Quintana took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 3-1 victory. David Ortiz’s one-out single in the seventh marked the Red Sox’s first hit.
“Our starting pitching’s really good,” said Jeff Keppinger, who hit a two-run homer. “Every game, we’re in it. It’s just a matter of if we can get that big hit.”
Alex Rios went 2 for 4 with an RBI double and is batting .391 during a career-best 16-game hitting streak. Rios, though, is 2 for 13 off Buchholz, who seeks his first victory in four outings.
Buchholz (6-0, 1.78) won his first six starts behind a 1.01 ERA, but he’s posted a 3.43 ERA over his last three. He struck out nine and gave up two runs in seven innings of a 3-2, 10-inning win over Minnesota on Friday, marking the sixth time he’s finished with at least eight strikeouts.
“Team wins. That’s what this game’s about. There’s absolutely no disappointment (not earning a decision),” said Buchholz, whose ERA is best in the AL.
The right-hander also didn’t pick up a victory despite a stellar start the last time he faced the White Sox, giving up one run in eight innings of a 3-1 win July 19. He’s 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA over his last three outings against Chicago.
The Red Sox (27-19) have dropped the first two games of this set after winning five straight. Ortiz is 1 for 7 after entering the series batting .429 during a seven-game hitting streak.
Boston outfielder Shane Victorino didn’t play Tuesday because of tightness in his left hamstring and is day to day.
The Red Sox have lost three straight road meetings with the White Sox after winning the previous five.
Yankees-Orioles Preview -
The Baltimore Orioles were staring at the possibility of a winless homestand. Instead, they have a chance to take to the road on a positive note when they wrap up their series with the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.
Baltimore’s struggles at Camden Yards have dropped it into a tie for third with Tampa Bay in the AL East, five games off the pace set by the Yankees (28-17). The Orioles (24-21), though, defeated New York 3-2 in 10 innings Tuesday on Nate McLouth’s walkoff homer.
”We really needed this win,” said outfielder Chris Dickerson, who had two solo homers. ”This team continues to grind, continues to push forward even when the chips are down. Nate came up huge. This was one of those things that can turn it around.”
The win came a night after the Yankees rallied against closer Jim Johnson and went on to a 6-4 victory in 10 innings. However, Johnson pitched a perfect inning for the win Tuesday to help Baltimore snap a six-game overall losing streak and seven-game slide at home.
The Orioles now have a chance to wrap up their eight-game homestand with two victories before facing Toronto and Washington on the road for the next six games.
“It was nice to win, period,” manager Buck Showalter said. ”Anytime, regardless of yesterday and the day before. We don’t get bogged down in that woe is me and this means that. You’ve got to keep turning the page.”
That may be a challenge with the Yankees turning to Hiroki Kuroda (6-2, 1.99 ERA), who will try to win his third consecutive start and shut down Baltimore for the second time this year. The right-hander scattered two hits and one walk in eight innings of a 5-0 victory over Toronto on Friday, giving him a 5-1 mark and 1.38 ERA in his past seven starts.
Kuroda notched his fifth shutout at the Orioles’ expense April 14, tossing a five-hitter in a 3-0 victory. He is 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA in three lifetime starts versus Baltimore and will be making his first appearance at Camden Yards.
After a strong start to the season, Jason Hammel (5-2, 5.72) is trying to rediscover that form after being hit hard in his last two outings. He allowed season worsts of seven runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 12-10 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday, and has been reached for 13 runs and 18 hits in 8 2-3 innings in the past two appearances.
“I’m missing out over the plate, arm-side with my fastball,” Hammel, whose ERA has jumped 1.62 runs his last two starts, told the team’s official website. “It’s a pretty simple fix, but for right now, it’s seemingly a little bit difficult for me.”
Hammel beat the Yankees on April 13, giving up three runs - two on solo homers - in six innings of a 5-3 victory. The right-hander is 2-3 with a 5.82 ERA in nine starts and 15 lifetime appearances versus New York.
Robinson Cano has gone 10 for 26 (.385) with two doubles and a homer against Hammel, while Vernon Wells is 5 for 14 with two solo homers.
The Yankees have scored four or fewer runs in all eight of their road losses. They led 1-0 in the first inning Tuesday but lost for the first time in 20 games when scoring first this season.
”We have to do a better job of adding on when we do score runs early,” Wells said.
Reds-Mets Preview -
Matt Harvey might be the most well-known undefeated pitcher taking the hill Wednesday afternoon, but he’s not the only one.
The Cincinnati Reds will send Mat Latos to the mound as they attempt their second straight three-game series sweep of the New York Mets at Citi Field.
The Reds have not lost a series in New York since 2009 and have won 10 of the last 13 overall between the teams.
On Wednesday, however, the spotlight will be on Harvey (5-0, 1.55 ERA), who is third in the majors in ERA and seventh with 68 strikeouts. He survived a shaky first inning Friday against the Chicago Cubs, who reached him for two runs and three hits, by retiring 20 of 21 batters and provided a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh of a 3-2 victory.
He had such a rough first inning,” Mets manager Terry Collins said after Harvey allowed two runs and five hits overall in 7 1-3 innings. “Then all the sudden he started cruising. He started getting a feel for it. I tell you, he is a horse, no doubt about it.”
Harvey has a 2.12 ERA entering his 20th career start, better than notable Mets Tom Seaver (2.78) and Dwight Gooden (2.91) at this point in their respective careers.
“This guy is different. He’s not your run-of-the-mill young pitcher,” Collins said. “This guy has got some savvy. He’s got great confidence.”
Harvey has managed to avoid losing a game despite his offense leaving him little margin for error. He has received just nine runs of support over his last five starts from an offense that has been held to three or fewer runs in 13 of 16 games.
Harvey won his only start against the Reds (28-18), limiting them to one run and four hits while striking out eight in 7 2-3 innings of an 8-4 victory on Aug. 16.
Latos (4-0, 2.91) has had success against the Mets, posting a 2-1 record and 2.70 ERA in five lifetime starts. In his last appearance on Aug. 14, he scattered five hits and two walks in seven innings, but did not get a decision in Cincinnati’s 3-0 win.
Latos could have been 5-0 if not for a rough ninth inning against the Marlins on Thursday. Latos surrendered two runs and four hits in 8 1-3 innings, but Aroldis Chapman failed to get the final two outs after Latos allowed a ninth-inning triple in Cincinnati’s eventual 5-3, 10-inning victory.
It was a strong bounce-back performance after he surrendered a season-worst seven runs against Milwaukee in his previous start.
“Latos was dealing,” Baker said. ”That’s as pitch-efficient as I’ve seen anybody.”
That’s bad news for the Mets (17-26), who were shut out for the second time this season on Tuesday night. They are batting just .209 at home, which ranks last in the majors. Ike Davis is just 1 for his last 36, while Ruben Tejada (3 for 33) and John Buck (7 for 48) also are struggling.
”At this point we’re not really getting many opportunities with runners in scoring position. So it’s not about getting a big hit; it’s about getting some runners out there and putting some pressure on the defense, putting some pressure on the pitcher because they’re having 1-2-3 innings pretty regularly,” David Wright said. “We’ve got a handful of guys that kind of are cold at the same time.”
Pacers-Heat Preview -
MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade’s rookie season ended with a playoff loss to the Indiana Pacers. The next year, the Miami Heat were headed to the Eastern Conference finals and certain that an NBA championship was in their sights.
That’s when Wade learned a valuable lesson: Never take playoff chances for granted.
Wade hurt his rib cage on a simple crossover dribble during that 2005 East title series, and the Heat season ended with a Game 7 home loss to Detroit. He’s been to the East finals three times since, prevailing in them all, and on Wednesday will look to take a first step toward a fourth conference championship when the Heat play host to the Pacers in Game 1 of their playoff rematch from a year ago.
”I know I’m blessed to be going to the Eastern Conference finals for my fifth time,” Wade said. ”But I would like a lot more in my career. It’s a good thing. We’ve been very successful in my tenure here. But I want more.”
For Wade and Udonis Haslem, this marks five East finals appearances in nine years. For LeBron James, it’s a fifth trip to this round in the past seven years, now three straight with Miami after a pair of trips to the East finals with Cleveland. For Ray Allen, it’s a fourth East title-round trip in six years, the first three of those coming with Boston.
Experience, it all favors Miami.
For the Pacers, this is pretty much uncharted waters. Only one current Pacers player has ever appeared in a conference-final game, and that was backup big man Ian Mahinmi, who played exactly 71 seconds in one game of the 2011 West title series without so much as taking a shot. Nonetheless, the Pacers seem far from bothered by the fact that this stage is a new place for them.
”There’s four teams left playing basketball in the NBA and this is something we’ve been looking forward to all year,” Pacers forward David West said. ”We lost to this team in the second round last year, so we’ve already gotten a step farther this season.”
Indiana took Miami to six games last season, leading the series 2-1 at one point, and left an impact on the Heat with words, actions and play. The series was always physical, at times bloody, and it took some superb efforts by Wade and James for Miami - which was without Chris Bosh for 5 1/2 of those six games - to put the Pacers away.
It’s not in the nature of either of these teams to back down from physicality, and tough play will almost certainly be a theme in this series. But if there’s one thing the Pacers and Heat agree upon, it’s that this series will be decided by execution, not intimidation.
”I think this will be about substance,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. ”This series has plenty to offer without hard fouls and trash-talking. It’s going to be about basketball.”
The Heat are overwhelming favorites, at least according to the Las Vegas oddsmakers, who apparently aren’t putting much stock in that it was the Pacers who prevailed in two of the three meetings between the teams this season.
In turn, the Heat aren’t putting much stock in expectations. Even though it’s starting to seem like an annual event, getting to the conference final round, Heat players insist that it’s still as big a deal now as it ever was.
”It’s an opportunity for me to continue my dream and that’s to compete for a championship,” said James, the league’s reigning MVP for the second straight year and fourth time overall. ”I’m happy that I’m in the position I’m in, with great teammates and a great organization. I’ve just got to do my part.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was an assistant on that team - Shaquille O’Neal’s initial season in Miami - that fully expected to be Finals-bound in 2005.
Then Wade got hurt, and everything changed.
”I let myself get too far ahead,” Wade said. ”I was thinking, ‘Championship, we’re on our way.’ I was riding the wave. It was awesome. Then it smacked me - Pow! - and it just takes one moment to change. Stupid. All I did was crossover. Did a stupid crossover pullup, I don’t know what happened and it changed everything for us. That’s when you learn, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Wade isn’t 100 percent this time around either, though has said in recent days that his bruised right knee is good enough for him to play. He doesn’t even plan on missing any more practice time this season.
The Pacers have some mild injury concerns as well, with West dealing with an injury to his lower right leg and 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert needing a tape job on his right thumb after a hit in practice earlier this week. They’re both expected to play Wednesday.
”I think it will be a good series,” Pacers forward Paul George said. ”Obviously, we remember what happened last year and it will be on our mind when we face this team. We’re not just happy to get to this stage, we want to get past this one, too.”
George has deservedly earned high marks this season for his offensive growth. The Pacers’ hopes in this series might hinge upon his defense.
He went from guarding Carmelo Anthony in the second round to knowing that he’ll be facing off plenty in this series against James - who Vogel called ”the best player, the best offensive player in the world.”
”He has to do the same kind of thing he did on Carmelo,” Vogel said of George. ”He has to come out and compete the best he can and do it without fouling.”
James told teammates on Tuesday that he’s raring to go, especially so since the Heat haven’t played in about a week. He was working after practice on his floating jumpers, something he employed against the massiveness of Hibbert last season and a trick he won’t be afraid to pull out and use again in this series.
Pittsburgh at Ottawa Preview -
OTTAWA (AP)—After a win in Game 3, the Ottawa Senators are confident they can tie their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Senators trail the Penguins 2-1 in their Eastern Conference semifinal series heading into Game 4 Wednesday.
“The next game is the biggest game of the year, that’s the way it is,” Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. “No matter what happens you treat it (as the biggest game) and when that’s done you do the same for the next one.”
The Senators’ confidence in themselves and their ability to rebound has been the benchmark of their season. Ottawa’s 2-1 double-overtime win Sunday night was just another example.
Alfredsson tied the game at 1-1 with 29 seconds remaining in regulation and Colin Greening went on to score the winner at 7:39 of the second overtime.
The Senators know that the Penguins will want to rebound in Game 4 and try to take control of this series.
“We can’t stray too far from our game plan,” Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot said. “Last game in particular we were so strong defensively and that’s a huge key. We know we’re going to get our opportunities offensively in their own zone.”
For the Penguins, getting a split in Ottawa means a chance to clinch the series back home.
“I think every game the more the series goes on the more important each one gets,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “You can see the desperation they have. They want to make sure it’s 2-2 going back to Pittsburgh and obviously we know the scenario is to come here and get one of two on the road and go back home with a chance to finish off the series would be great.
“I don’t think we have to change anything to do that. Our desperation’s been there, our compete level has been there and we believe that if we play the same way as last game and limit a few mistakes that we have a good chance of getting the win.”
Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke knows that the Senators have likely gained confidence from their win.
“The playoffs are a race to four wins through seven games,” Cooke said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We knew the Sens weren’t just going to roll over and give us all four games. Whether we lose 2-1 or 7-1, it’s one loss and that’s the way we have to view it.”
The Penguins are confident and see no reason to panic or change their game plan.
“You have to believe in your game,” Crosby said. “I think teams who get here believe in their game at this point. Sometimes in the playoffs you lose a tight game and you trust that if you play the same way in the next one you have a chance to win.”
Senators defenseman Chris Phillips said much of the Senators success has come from their ability to stay grounded.
“You’d be absolutely beat if after every game that’s all you did was think about the last game or worry about the result of the next game or riding highs or being down if you lose the previous one,” Phillips said. “It’s all about the process and playing and on the days off not even thinking about hockey and removing yourself from it.
“Physically as much as mentally you have to be rested and get ready for the next game. As far as this group is, it’s not about getting caught up in the results it’s going and playing the game the way we can and we’ll deal with the results at the end.”
Notes: Ottawa D Eric Gryba is expected to skate Wednesday morning, but not expected to play in Game 4. … Pittsburgh LW Jussi Jokinen could be back in the lineup Wednesday.
Quintana dominates as White Sox beat Red Sox 3-1 -
CHICAGO (AP) — Jose Quintana looked up in the fifth inning and started thinking about the possibility.
He made a strong bid for a no-hitter. It ended with a weak hit.
Quintana did not allow a hit until before David Ortiz broke it up with one out in the seventh on a broken-bat single, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox 3-1 on Tuesday night.
”In the fifth inning, I realized, man, they haven’t got a hit yet,” Quintana said through an interpreter. ”All I wanted to do was just get outs and keep the team ahead.”
Jeff Keppinger hit a two-run homer off Felix Doubront (3-2) in the fifth. Alex Rios extended his career-high hitting streak to 16 with a single and RBI double, and the White Sox won for the sixth time in eight games. They’ll try to complete the sweep against Clay Buchholz on Wednesday.
Quintana (3-1) was simply terrific.
The left-hander struck out five and walked two, and he had the fans thinking they just might be witnessing something special. The roars from the stands grew louder with each out as the game wore on, right until Ortiz’s bat shattered on a bloop single to center with one out in the seventh.
That ended the bid for the 19th no-hitter in White Sox history and the first since Philip Humber’s perfect game at Seattle on April 21 last season.
Two more singles by Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava loaded the bases and ended the night for Quintana, who got a standing ovation as he left the field.
”He was pounding the strike zone and pretty much making his pitches,” Ortiz said.
Jesse Crain came on to strike out Will Middlebrooks and Stephen Drew to end that threat, but the Red Sox got a run in the eighth after Matt Thornton walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia leading off and gave up a single to Jacoby Ellsbury. Matt Lindstrom retired pinch-hitter Mike Carp on a fly to left before uncorking a wild pitch, and Saltalamacchia scored from third when shortstop Alexei Ramirez allowed Dustin Pedroia’s hard grounder to go through his legs for an error.
Ortiz then grounded into a double play to end the rally, and Rios added an RBI double with two out in the bottom half to make it a two-run game.
Addison Reed worked the ninth for his 16th save in 17 chances, although Casper Wells had a bit of an adventure in left. He slipped while catching Nava’s fly to warning track for the second out before Middlebrooks ended it with a fly to center, preserving the win for Quintana.
”Everything was working,” he said. ”All (my) pitches were in the zone.”
Doubront was a tough-luck loser even though he was almost as effective as Quintana. He allowed two runs and five hits in six innings and walked two after issuing six in his previous start against Tampa Bay, and he wasn’t even too upset about the pitch Keppinger knocked to the seats.
”Not even one mistake, just I threw a good pitch,” he said. ”A good hitter put a good swing on it and hit it out of the ballpark.”
He gave up a single to Ramirez on a slow roller toward third with one out in the first and did not allow another hit until the fifth.
Then, after getting all their runs with two out in Monday’s 6-4 win, the White Sox did it again.
They got their first two when Dayan Viciedo singled to left in the fifth and Keppinger drove the next pitch to the seats in left to make it 2-0. The home run was his first since Sept. 29 when he hit one for Tampa Bay in a game at U.S. Cellular Field, and Tyler Flowers nearly added to it when he doubled off the wall in left-center before Tyler Greene grounded out to end the inning.
”Our starting pitching’s really good,” Keppinger said. ”Every game, we’re in it. We have a chance. It’s just a matter of if we can get that big hit - or get that big two-out hit. It seems as of late, we’ve been getting a lot of two-out hits that are turning into runs.”
NOTES: The White Sox scratched Chris Sale from Wednesday’s start against the Boston Red Sox because of a mild tendinitis in his left shoulder. Sale was scheduled to pitch against the unbeaten Buchholz (6-0, 1.78 ERA). Hector Santiago will start in his place. Sale said he ”absolutely” expects to be ready for his next scheduled start against the Cubs on Tuesday. … Chicago’s John Danks said he hopes to make his first start of the season this week. He has not pitched since May 19 last year and had surgery in August to repair a capsule tear and remove debris in his rotator cuff and biceps. … The White Sox confirmed a report that chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has recommended a family succession plan that includes selling its interest in the franchise. The team said in a statement released Tuesday that while he has recommended putting the club up for sale ”once he is no longer with us,” all plans are ”fluid” and ”ultimately will depend on timing and other circumstances.” The White Sox also said he has no plans to sell the team anytime soon. … The Red Sox held Shane Victorino out of the lineup Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox because of tightness in his left hamstring.
Leake's pitching, Wright's E send Reds past Mets -
NEW YORK (AP) — Any time a starting pitcher steps into the batter’s box before he stands on the mound, he’s in pretty good shape. Mike Leake enjoyed that luxury Tuesday night.
Leake pitched three-hit ball for seven sharp innings and the Cincinnati Reds parlayed star third baseman David Wright’s early error into a 4-0 victory over the New York Mets.
Leake, one of the majors’ best-hitting pitchers, struck out to end the top of the first inning. The Reds already led 3-0 by then, scoring all those runs after Wright let a bases-loaded, two-out grounder skip through his legs.
”It always helps a little bit,” Leake said. ”It helps you relax a little bit. It lets you attack hitters, instead of being timid.”
Devin Mesoraco homered as the Reds won for the ninth time in 11 games. And for the second straight day, they opened a 3-0 lead over the Mets in the opening inning.
Leake (4-2) struck out four, walked two and became the latest pitcher to shut down the Mets at Citi Field. New York has lost 10 of 12 at home, rarely scoring many runs.
Leake escaped his biggest jam by retiring slumping Ike Davis on a grounder with runners on second and third to end the fourth.
”Everything was seeming to work,” Leake said.
The 25-year-old righty has never pitched a shutout in the majors, and was pulled for reliever Sam LeCure to begin the eighth.
LeCure and Logan Ondrusek each threw a hitless inning to finish up.
Jonathon Niese (3-5) wasn’t charged with an earned run, but he hurt himself with continuing control troubles. He walked three, all on full counts in the first inning.
Niese set down the first two batters of the night before Joey Votto walked, Brandon Phillips looped a single and Jay Bruce walked.
Todd Frazier followed with a hard grounder right at Wright, and the ball bounced under his glove and let two runs score. Earlier this season, Wright ran his errorless streak to 77 games, a team record for third basemen.
”That ball was scorched,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ”I know they called it an error, but whatever happened to the old ‘too hot to handle?”’
Either way, the Reds were on their way.
”It was hit sharply and just got a tricky in-between hop,” Wright said. ”I looked at the replay and trying to learn what I could have done differently and really couldn’t do much.”
”Just wish the ball would have found the glove because Jon Niese settled in and was fantastic those next five innings and really did a nice job saving the bullpen. So I wish I could have made that one,” he said. ”When things aren’t going so great, one play like that can cost you a game and it did today.”
Donald Lutz then beat out an infield hit that reloaded the bases and Mesoraco drew another walk that forced home a run. Niese struck out Leake to end an inning in which he threw 48 pitches, and walked off the mound holding the glove in his throwing hand.
”That’s what you want to do - jump ‘em early,” Baker said. ”Break the spirit of the opposing pitcher. A lot times, they think they’re throwing good in the bullpen and then, ‘What happened?”’
Mesoraco hit reliever Collin McHugh’s first pitch in the ninth for his second home run.
Votto extended his hitting streak to 10 games while Bruce’s string ended at 11.
NOTES: Reds SS Zack Cozart returned to the lineup after missing two games because of a stomach illness. … Reds CF Shin-Soo Choo got a day off. … Mets ace RHP Matt Harvey (5-0, 1.55 ERA) starts Wednesday afternoon vs. RHP Mat Latos (4-0, 2.91). … The win made the Reds 146-145 all-time when visiting the Mets, including games at the Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium and Citi Field. … Niese struck out seven. He has walked 27 and fanned 31 this season. … The Mets have scored three runs or less in nine straight home games. … The Reds improved to 12-12 on the road this year.
Orioles beat Yankees 3-2 in 10 to end 6-game skid -
BALTIMORE (AP) — The shaving cream was still glopped on Chris Dickerson’s head and shoulders long after the final pitch, a tell-tale indicator that the Baltimore Orioles had finally returned to celebratory mode at Camden Yards.
Nate McLouth homered leading off the bottom of the 10th inning, Dickerson hit a pair of solo shots and the Orioles beat the New York Yankees 3-2 Tuesday night to snap a six-game losing streak.
McLouth hit a 1-1 pitch from Vidal Nuno (1-1) into the bleachers in right-center to give the Orioles their first win since May 12. Dickerson, who played sparingly for the Yankees in each of the past two seasons, connected off Phil Hughes in the third and fifth innings - the first two-homer game of his career.
For their efforts, McLouth and Dickerson each got a shaving cream pie from teammate Adam Jones during their postgame interviews. It was a fitting way to mark the end of a skid in which all six defeats came at home.
”We really needed this win,” Dickerson said. ”This team continues to grind, continues to push forward even when the chips are down. Nate came up huge. This was one of those things that can turn it around.”
Asked if it was the best night of his baseball career, Dickerson quickly replied, ”Absolutely. Under the circumstances, yeah. … As soon as I saw the lineup card I was already fired up, just to get the opportunity to play against them. But to go out and have that result, it was awesome.”
Jim Johnson (2-4), who blew three save opportunities during the six-game skid, got three straight outs in the 10th.
”I’m just happy about the outcome of the game,” Johnson said.
His performance capped an exceptional effort by Orioles pitchers, who retired 21 of the last 22 New York batters.
”It was nice to win, period,” manager Buck Showalter said. ”Anytime, regardless of yesterday and the day before. We don’t get bogged down in that woe is me and this means that. You’ve got to keep turning the page.”
Travis Hafner drove in both runs for the Yankees, who fell to 19-1 when scoring first. Dickerson’s role in New York’s defeat did not go unnoticed by manager Joe Girardi.
”We’ve had him up a couple times and he’s done some good things for us,” he said. ”He helped them tonight.”
Hughes allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. Coming off a horrid start against Seattle in which the right-hander yielded seven runs and got only two outs, Hughes kept the Orioles in check - except for Dickerson.
”I thought he did OK,” Girardi said. ”He gave us a great chance to win the game.”
Both bullpens matched zeroes until Nuno threw his third pitch.
”It was supposed to be a cutter away,” the left-hander said. ”It felt a little bit off and he took advantage of it. One pitch and it cost us the game. Got to forget about it and get ready to pitch tomorrow.”
Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez gave up two runs and five hits over seven innings, striking out five and walking none. The right-hander came off the disabled list before the game following an 18-day absence with a blister on his right thumb.
”It was fun to be out there again after two weeks being out and giving a chance to my team to win a ballgame,” Gonzalez said. ”I think that was fun, especially getting ahead of guys. That was important.”
New York got a first-inning run when Brett Gardner doubled and scored on a two-out single by Hafner. Dickerson tied it with a drive to right-center on a 3-2 pitch.
The Yankees quickly moved back in front. Vernon Wells led off the fourth with a double and Hafner followed with an RBI single.
Dickerson’s second homer of the game, leading off the fifth, made it 2-all.
Gonzalez retired 11 straight batters before David Adams singled with two outs in the seventh. Lance Nix followed with a liner that right fielder Nick Markakis snagged with a dive.
NOTES: To clear a roster spot for Gonzalez, the Orioles optioned RHP Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A Norfolk. Jurrjens started one game for Baltimore, receiving a no-decision Saturday against Tampa Bay. …RHP Hiroki Kuroda will start for New York on Wednesday night in the finale of the three-game series. The Orioles will start Jason Hammel, who is 0-2 with a 7.79 ERA in three home starts. … Yankees manager Joe Girardi said SS Derek Jeter (left ankle) ”is not really doing anything yet” and LHP Andy Pettitte (strained trapezius muscle) has not starting throwing. … Orioles C Matt Wieters turned 27 on Tuesday.
Sharks tie series with 2-1 win over Kings -
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Joe Thornton set the tone for the San Jose Sharks with a dominant first period. After that, the Sharks did their best to hang on and tie up their playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings.
Thornton set up Brent Burns’ first-period goal and Logan Couture added a power-play goal early in the second to give the Sharks just enough offense to beat the Kings 2-1 Tuesday night to knot their series at two games.
”He’s our leader for a reason,” Burns said of Thornton. ”Everybody keeps saying it. He’s one of the hardest workers we have in here. It’s awesome to play with him when he’s playing like that. It’s a lot of fun.”
The Sharks outshot the Kings 15-3 in the opening period before falling into a shell the second half of the game, managing just four shots in the final 36:05 after taking a 2-0 lead.
Antti Niemi made 13 of his 22 saves in the third period to help the Sharks match Los Angeles’ two home wins to open the series with two of their own.
”In the third it’s typical, unfortunately the way it goes, usually teams are a little bit on their heels and the other team is pressuring, and you’re just trying to find a way,” defenseman Dan Boyle said.
”Obviously that’s not the way we want to play, but that’s the way it happens. A win’s a win. That’s what I’ve been talking about. We’re in a good place right now, and it’s only going to get harder.”
Mike Richards scored a power-play goal and Jonathan Quick made 21 saves for the Kings, who have lost 10 of 11 road games dating to the end of the regular season.
Game 5 is Thursday night in Los Angeles when the Sharks will look to end a streak of four straight wins by the home team in this series.
”We knew going into this series we’d have to win one game at Staples Center if we want to win this series,” Couture said. ”We’ve done our job at home. We need to go into L.A. and win a game on Thursday. We’re looking forward to it.”
After falling behind 2-0, the Kings showed some fight in a dominant third period. They got on the scoreboard on a power play when Burns was sent off for boarding Anze Kopitar.
Los Angeles wore down San Jose’s penalty killers in the offensive zone and scored when Richards knocked in a rebound of Jeff Carter’s shot.
”I think we battled back and made it close but you don’t get much for making it close,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
The Kings outshot the Sharks 14-2 in the third period, holding San Jose without a shot for nearly 13 minutes but couldn’t get the equalizer against Niemi.
Couture gave the Sharks a 2-0 lead early in the second period, deflecting a point shot by Boyle past Quick while Colin Fraser was in the penalty box for roughing Andrew Desjardins in the offensive zone.
The Kings started to generate the better scoring chances after that, getting denied a goal midway through the period on an early whistle by an official. Los Angeles was unable to generate a shot on goal during two power plays later in the period with Jake Muzzin, shooting high with an empty net to cost the Kings a golden opportunity at a goal.
”For us, it’s about how they dominated the first half of the game and then we dominated the second half of the game,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said. ”But they buried their chances. They play well here and we didn’t learn from Game 3, so that’s on us for not learning from our own mistakes.”
The Sharks opened the game with one of their most dominating periods of the year to the delight of the boisterous crowd chanting ”Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!” from the start.
But San Jose had only one goal to show for that start thanks to solid play from Quick and a shot by Tommy Wingels that rang off the crossbar.
Led by the physically imposing line of Thornton, Burns and TJ Galiardi, the Sharks spent almost the entire first period in the Los Angeles zone.
San Jose jumped on top early when Thornton stole the puck from Slava Voynov on the forecheck and fed Burns, who shot was blocked. Thornton came up with the loose puck and slid a perfect cross-ice pass to Burns, who was not denied on his second chance, beating Quick with a one-timer.
”Burns has been shooting the puck real well so it was just a matter of time until he put one in the net,” Thornton said. ”After the first shot, the puck just came right back to me. He was open again and I just made the pass.”
The Kings had to feel fortunate that was all San Jose managed for the period as they killed off two penalties and withstood constant pressure from the Sharks.
NOTES: F Kyle Clifford returned for Los Angeles after missing four games with an upper-body injury in place of rookie Tanner Pearson. … Kings D Matt Greene, who played only five regular season games because of back problems, was in the lineup for the first time this postseason in place of Keaton Ellerby. … F Tim Kennedy returned to the Sharks lineup in place of Marty Havlat, who left Game 3 after the first period with a lower-body injury.
Paille's goal puts Bruins on verge of East finals -
NEW YORK (AP) — It took 40 years for Original Six rivals Boston and New York to face off again in the playoffs.
Beantown’s Bruins seem intent on wrapping up the long-awaited get-together in a hurry.
Daniel Paille scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:31 left in the third period - after defenseman Johnny Boychuk got the Bruins even earlier in the frame - and Boston put the Rangers on the brink of elimination with a 2-1 victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series on Tuesday night.
Boston leads the series 3-0 and can advance to the conference finals as early as Thursday at Madison Square Garden. Only three NHL teams have rallied from an 0-3 hole to advance.
However, the Philadelphia Flyers did it to the Bruins in 2010 in this round.
”We can talk about it all we want, but that’s in the past,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. ”We had to live with that and we still have to live with that.”
Boston also nearly blew a 3-1 series edge in the opening round this year against Toronto, before rallying from a three-goal deficit in the third period and capturing Game 7 in overtime.
”The Toronto series, I didn’t think our team was in the zone the way it is right now,” Julien said. ”I anticipate - knowing my team - that we’re going to come out the same next game and certainly not be the Jekyll and Hyde team that we were in the first round.”
The Bruins trailed 1-0 heading into the third, but Boychuk tied it with his fourth of the playoffs after he netted just one in 44 regular-season games. The Rangers hadn’t lost in regulation when leading after two periods since Feb. 4, 2010.
Boston thought it had grabbed the lead seconds before Paille scored when a shot deflected off the mask of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, popped up in the air and landed on the goal line. Lundqvist couldn’t find it before Paille swooped in from behind the net and poked in the puck.
”I thought we played a pretty strong game,” Lundqvist said, ”but we came up short again and it definitely hurts.”
Taylor Pyatt had made it 1-0 in the second period for the Rangers, who were outscored 8-4 in two losses at Boston to begin the series. New York had won nine straight at home, including three in the playoffs against Washington in the first round.
Lundqvist was sharp until the third period and finished with 32 saves. He bounced back well after an uncharacteristic performance in which he allowed five goals in the Game 2 loss.
”You have to be pretty happy with the situation right now,” said Tuukka Rask, who made 23 saves for Boston. ”We were really happy with our effort, I think this was our best defensive effort in a long, long time. So we just have to stay calm, keep playing our style of hockey and good things will happen.”
New York’s task is now most difficult. The Rangers were already trying to become the first NHL team to ever rebound from 0-2 holes to win consecutive series.
”You can’t look at it as you have to win four games,” Lundqvist said. ”You just have to focus on the next one. The season is on the line, so you have to leave everything out there.
”We definitely have to give everything right now, mentally and physically, and put it out there on Thursday.”
The Rangers again couldn’t get their power play untracked, failing in both of their chances and dropping to 0-for-10 in the series. New York has only two power-play goals in 38 opportunities during these playoffs.
Boychuk was credited with the tying goal after the puck appeared to deflect into the net off Rangers defenseman John Moore.
The game turned rougher moments later when New York forward Chris Kreider was struck under his visor by the stick of Boston’s Tyler Seguin, who was following through on a shot just inside the blue line. Seguin was then clipped in the exchange by the stick of Rangers defenseman Steve Eminger.
Shortly after, Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron had a cut over his eye that left his white jersey bloodstained. No penalties were called on any of the plays.
New York took just its second lead of the series 3:53 into the second period when Pyatt deflected in a shot by defenseman Ryan McDonagh that was fired from the blue line.
Lundqvist shined in the second, making a pad stop on Seguin 6 1-2 minutes in, stretching across to knock away a drive by rookie defenseman Torey Krug - who scored in each of the first two games of the series - and then bringing the crowd to its feet with a lunging glove snare of Gregory Campbell’s slap shot from the left circle with 8:24 remaining.
That got the Bruins even in shots (15-15) before they outshot New York 8-1 the rest of the second.
The Rangers got off to a sluggish start after losing the opening faceoff, and didn’t mount any kind of early surge fueled by the excited home crowd. New York didn’t carry the puck into the Boston end until 1:35 had elapsed.
”You have to be proud of your team,” Julien said. ”The Rangers hadn’t lost here in a long time and they were extremely confident. You saw them come out with that confidence. I thought they were a much better team than they had been in Boston.
”We had to face that and we had to be better.”
The Rangers picked up their play and built a 6-1 edge in shots, including scoring opportunities on Rask. New York earned the first power play of the night, however it was as ineffective as it has been throughout the postseason.
The tide turned back to the Bruins’ favor just before the midway point in the period, starting with a partial breakaway after New York turned over the puck at the Boston blue line. Chris Kelly raced ahead with the puck and was stopped in tight by Lundqvist when he tried a backhanded shot.
Shawn Thornton was also denied when he came in alone on Lundqvist with 8:46 left in the period, and Jaromir Jagr couldn’t score, either, when he got a pair of whacks at the puck that the New York goalie turned aside.
The Bruins’ surge gave them an 8-7 edge in shots, but Boston finished the period trailing 11-9.
”We were down but we weren’t playing that poorly,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said of the team’s third-period mindset. ”We needed to stay aggressive, try to tie the game. We just wanted to get pucks to the net. We did that and we were rewarded.”
NOTES: The Rangers didn’t yield a power-play chance for the second straight home game. … New York D Anton Stralman was injured in the second period and didn’t return. … Since Boston trailed 4-1 in Game 7 against Toronto, Rask has allowed five goals in four-plus games.