Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yankees falter against Orioles

AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK — Chris Davis could only watch, helpless, as the Yankees teed off on Orioles starter Chris Tillman for five runs in the first inning.
In the top of the second, though, Baltimore's designated hitter did something about it.
He hit a go-ahead grand slam in a seven-run inning and Baltimore beat the New York Yankees 11-5 on Tuesday night.

"It felt like the first inning would never end," Davis said. "And then we were able to come out there and take back the momentum and really quiet the crowd."
Nick Markakis had a two-run homer among his three hits for the Orioles, who have won four of their last six, but finished July 13-14, their first month below .500 all season. They'll start August 5 1-2 games behind the Yankees for the AL East lead and right in the thick of the hunt for the two wild-card spots.
Tillman said that on Monday, he thought he would be too sick to pitch, but he started a course of antibiotics and felt better on Tuesday morning.
"I didn't feel all that good," Tillman said. "There's no excuse to not make pitches early on."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he was close to bringing in a reliever for Tillman. But once he made it out of the first, he talked to pitching coach Rick Adair, and made some adjustments and relied on catcher Matt Wieters.
"Sometimes you have some outings where you are just not carrying everything you need to, your velocity is down a little bit," Showalter said. "Rick just gave him a different wrinkle and a different toy to play with and Matt getting him through those last four innings was pretty special to watch."
Tillman (4-1) was charged with four earned runs and allowed eight hits with three strikeouts in his five innings.
Ivan Nova allowed a career-high nine runs in five innings for New York, which tied a season-worst skid with four straight losses and made some dubious history in the process. According to STATS, LLC, the Yankees haven't led by five or more after the first inning and then trailed after the second since at least 1918. The Yankees have lost nine of 12.
Nova (10-5) struck out five, allowed 10 hits and lost in consecutive starts for the first time in his career. He has one win in his last seven starts, and the Yankees are 14-7 in his games.
"That's something he has been really good at this year: not letting things unravel," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "And tonight it did, for whatever reason."
The Yankees teed off on Tillman in the first. He didn't get an out until he fielded Nick Swisher's groundball and threw to second for a force, after allowing an RBI single by Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano's two-run homer. He later committed an error on Ichiro Suzuki's RBI grounder that made it 4-0. Russell Martin added a run with a single before he got caught in a rundown between first and second. Ramiro Pena finally grounded out to end the inning.
The last time New York led by at least five after one inning and then lost was May 4, 2007, against Seattle, when the Yankees blew a 5-0 lead and lost 15-11.
By the time Tillman made it back out to the mound, he had a two-run lead thanks to Davis' homer, Mark Reynolds' double and Omar Quintanilla's two-run single — all the runs coming with two outs. He settled down to pitch four shutout innings to hang onto the lead and win his third straight decision.
"It's not easy to go out there and give up a lot of runs to this offense in this ballpark and then stay in there and shut the door after that, so I'm proud of him for doing it," Davis said.
Wilson Betemit helped out by tacking on an RBI double in the third and a single in the fifth.
Orioles left-hander Troy Patton pitched two scoreless innings of relief and Matt Lindstrom and Luis Ayala followed up with a scoreless inning each to close out the game.
NOTES: It was the first grand slam of Davis' career. ... Orioles OF Lew Ford doubled in the third, for his first big league hit since 2007. The 35-year-old Ford batted .272 with 32 homers from 2003-07 with Minnesota. He played in Japan, Mexico and the independent Atlantic League before the Orioles signed him to a minor league contract in May. ... No major league team has taken a 5-0 lead and given it up that quickly since Washington was up 5-0 after the first inning against the Marlins on July 6, 2006, then trailed 7-5 after two. ... The last time the Yankees led 5-0 after one inning and lost by six runs or more was Aug. 6, 1991, at Chicago. ... Before the game, the Yankees obtained third baseman Casey McGehee from Pittsburgh for reliever Chad Qualls, giving them a right-handed batter to plug in while Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira recuperate from hand injuries. ... Yankees RHP Phil Hughes is set to start Wednesday afternoon against Baltimore lefty Zach Britton. ... Jeter doubled in the first inning, making him 39 for 97 (.402) when leading off a game.

New-look Phillies shut down Nationals

WASHINGTON – Stephen Strasburg threw three straight fastballs to Jimmy Rollins in the fourth inning of the first game the Phillies played after the Fire Sale of 2012.
The first was a 94-MPH heater high and outside. The second came in at 93 and was even further outside.

Then Strasburg, the ace flamethrower of the best team in the National League, dialed it up. He let loose on a 95-MPH ball of cheddar that was placed out over the heart of the plate, which also happens to be known as JRoll’s happy place.
Rollins turned his hips and jumped on the pitch quick and then motored around the bases even quicker.
The ball hit off the right field wall, where rookie Bryce Harper accidentally implanted himself in an awkward attempt to catch it. It then caromed toward the right field line as a teenage outfielder laid up along the warning track.
Since Cliff Lee stole second base during Rollins’ at-bat, he didn’t get in the speedy leadoff hitter’s way. Rollins easily made the 360-feet trek around the bases for his fourth inside-the-park home run and first since 2007.
On a day when the Phillies season unofficially came to an end, with a pair of trades that sent Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence to the west coast, the longest tenured player provided a highlight for the team video yearbook and the highest paid player reminded everyone of his worth.
Rollins’ home run and Lee’s dominance on the mound led the Phils to a 6-0 win over first-place Washington Tuesday night at Nationals Park.
“I thought we played good, we came out with life,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “I like the way we played.”
“We’re going to try to play each game for what it is and try to win each game,” Lee said. “No one has given up. No one has folded yet. It’s game on.”
Lee pitched his best game since April, holding the Nats to five hits in seven shutout innings.
The loss snapped a three-game losing streak. It also began a final two-month run of baseball that will be foreign to most young Philadelphia baseball fans.
Earlier in the afternoon, the trades of Victorino and Pence prior to major league baseball’s trade deadline signaled a white flag on a lost season. One year removed from winning a franchise-record 102 games, the Phils officially became sellers on deadline day, which sent a not-so-subtle message form the front office that the focus has moved to 2013.
“There was a lot of talk, but until you do things, there is always a lot of talk and it seems like every day there is a story, every day is kind of like the world is coming to an end or something,” Manuel said of the team’s first midsummer fire sale since 2006, when he was in his second season as the Phils’ manager.
“I remember (former general manager) Pat Gillick made the deals in 2006 and he stood up and said we won’t contend until 2009,” Manuel continued. “I came right behind and said I knew our guys in our clubhouse and I know we’re going to still compete.
“I still have that same attitude. I still have that same attitude I had then and tonight when we come out to play, we’re going to try our best to win. We’ll see where it takes us. I don’t look as nothing as given up. We’re still playing.”
Nearly three months since their last trip to Washington, a three-game series when the Nationals sent a message that they were through being pushovers for the five-time reigning NL East champion Phillies, there was a role reversal again at Nationals Park. Matched up against the team with baseball’s best record, the Phils apparently heard Manuel’s message and played like a team not ready to roll over.
Carlos Ruiz doubled off Strasburg to lead off the second inning. Two batters later, new third baseman Kevin Frandsen ripped a two-run home run.
The new-look Phils were off and running.
Juan Pierre, who curiously wasn’t traded Tuesday, singled in the third and went on to steal both second and third base. He put the Phils up 3-0 when Washington catcher Jesus Flores’ errant throw, in attempt to catch Pierre stealing, sailed into left field.
In the fourth, Lee singled in a run, stole a base and made sure he didn’t get lapped when Rollins ripped his inside-the-park homer.
The inning was Strasburg’s last, matching his shortest start of the season. The eventual win was Lee’s second of the season.
Lee collected that victory a little more than 24 hours after his own name was knee-deep in trade rumors. Before Victorino and Pence were shipped out, Lee was reportedly was there for the taking on the trade market.
“They told us that was rumors and there wasn’t anything really in the works,” Lee said. “Ruben (Amaro Jr.) told me some teams proposed some stuff to him but nothing that ever made even close to sense for the Phillies.”
Despite trading off two All-Star outfielders Tuesday, the Phillies season isn’t over. They have two months of baseball remaining.
Lee hasn’t given up on 2012 or on his reasons for signing a five-year, $120 million deal to join the Phillies instead of the Yankees and Rangers two winters ago.
“I signed here to win here,” Lee said. “Obviously nobody is happy with the way this year has gone but, yeah, this is where I want to be. Obviously we still have a lot of talent, we’ve had a tough draw this year with injuries and stuff. If we can finish this year strong, who knows what’s going to happen. With the moves they made, hopefully it makes us that much better in the future.”

Thunder top Altoona and Gerrit Cole

TRENTON — The strategy to employ when facing a pitcher of Gerrit Cole’s caliber is simply to try to keep it close until you get a crack at the bullpen. And after six innings at Cole’s mercy, that’s exactly what the Thunder did in their 2-1 win over the Altoona Curve on an exquisite Tuesday evening at Waterfront Park.
Cole, the Yankees’ unsigned first-rounder from 2008, dissected the Thunder for the game’s first two thirds. They had three hits to show for their effort, singles from Melky Mesa and David Adams and a double from Rob Segedin.

He finished with six strikeouts over as many innings, walked one, threw 53 of his 82 pitches for strikes and had scouts in the stands marveling at how a pitcher with his stuff — upper-90s gas, low-90s two-seamer and a filthy slider — could possibly have an ERA of near 5.00. The coup de grace came in the fifth, when Cole froze Thunder catcher J.R. Murphy on a heater over the outside corner that cracked 100 miles per hour. On the other side, Thunder starter Brett Marshall, a pitcher with a decidedly lower profile whom the Yankees selected five picks after Cole in the 2008 draft, was more than up to the challenge. And although his stuff wasn’t nearly as flashy, he mixed in enough sinkers and sliders to keep the Curve beating the ball into the ground. His only mistake came in the second inning, when Oscar Tejeda – whom the Pirates picked up on waivers after the Red Sox DFAed him earlier this season — reached Marshall for a solo home run into the wall of advertising in left field. With Cole vanquished in the seventh, it didn’t take long for the Thunder to strike against Altoona’s bullpen. Zoilo Almonte pounced on Hunter Strickland’s first offering for a solo home run to quickly even the score and render Cole’s effort irrelevant. Melky Mesa and Luke Murton then reached on an error and an infield single, and Mesa scored the eventual winning run on J.R. Murphy’s sac fly to medium center field. Kelvin Perez wiggled in and out of trouble for two innings before yielding the hill to Ryan Pope, who earned the save by stranding the tying run on second base.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Plainsboro's Soni looks forward to 200, not back at silver

Staff Report
LONDON -­ If Plainsboro native Rebecca Soni is dwelling on her narrow loss in the 100-meter breaststroke Monday at the Olympics, she isn’t showing it.
"My focus is on the 200 (meter breaststroke),” Soni said after taking the silver medal and finishing just eight hundreths of a second.“It makes it difficult to do both events really well. I am happy where I am.”

Soni fell just short in her quest to add an Olympic championship in the 100 to her world title from last year, as a furious comeback gave her the silver just behind Lithuania’s 15-year-old star Ruta Meilutyte. Soni was fourth after the first 50 meters, but she quickly moved into contention with a surge after the turn. If the race was another five meters long, she would have won her second Olympic gold medal. “The race felt good in general. The second half is where I strive (thrive). I was not expecting to touch (the) 50 (mark) first but I expected to be in a position to get to the wall first,” she said. Instead, it’s time to move on to the 200-meter breaststroke, an event Soni set the world record in during a gold medal run in 2008 in Beijing. She also won two other silver medals in the 100 breaststroke and the 4x100 medley relay. “I cannot say I am completely satisfied, especially because it was so close. I gave it my all. I think I did pretty well tonight and I cannot wait to race the 200,” Soni said. Heats begin Wednesday for that event. The race had a bizarre start as fellow American Breeja Larson appeared to false start, but a malfunction of the starting gun gave her new life. But all eight swimmers had to wait around a few minutes to start after taking their marks once already.
“It was mostly just sitting there and waiting, not knowing how much time you have. It was just unnerving but I don’t think I would have done much better. It’s definitely a strange thing to happen at the Olympics,” Soni said. “I felt so bad because I know she is cold (after jumping in early and waiting for the re-start). I am sure it got in her head. Maybe she could have had a much better race.” Soni’s strong run to the well nearly stole the gold from the Lithuanian teen. “I can’t believe it. It’s too much for me. I really can’t say anything,” Meilutyte said.“It was hard and difficult. At the moment I can’t speak too much. But it means a lot to me and I’m so proud.” Soni, who won three gold medals in the 2011 world championships, was impressed with the youngster’s performance. “It was definitely a surprise. I guess after the prelims I knew she would be a great competitor. It’s amazing to do that at 15,” Soni said. “She looked great in all the rounds. She swam three amazing races. I am honoured to have been able to swim with her because I know she will do great in the future.”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

With another loss, Phils look firmly like sellers


ATLANTA —  On the eve of the Phillies unofficial trade day, the one-year anniversary of the day they acquired Hunter Pence, the two-year anniversary of the Roy Oswalt trade and the three-year anniversary of the first time they acquired Cliff Lee, rumors circulated around the press box at Turner Field like gnats at a summer barbecue.

Two scouts from the Los Angeles Dodgers were reportedly in attendance. The Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates, National League Central rivals, were both said to be in hot pursuit of Shane Victorino.

It’s probably as good a time as any to acknowledge that the Phillies will in fact be sellers before Tuesday’s deadline.

Oddly enough, Joe Blanton took the mound Saturday night attempting to keep the Phillies remaining hopes at turning the season around alive, but instead ended up looking like an ideal candidate to be traded away.

Blanton pitched seven sharp innings but was outpitched by Braves lefty Mike Minor in the Phillies 2-1 defeat.

The Phils have dropped two in a row in Atlanta after arriving in town with a four-game winning streak. Despite sporting an 8-6 record since the All-Star break, the Phils have lost ground in the wild-card race, sinking from 10 games to 11 ½ games back.

“It’s very disappointing,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We know we have to win games.”
Blanton, a free agent at the end of the year like Victorino, looked exactly like the pitcher the Phillies acquired four summers ago. He looked like a proven vet who could help fill out a contender’s rotation.

Blanton, who pitched a three-hit shutout in his previous start at Turner Field, on May 3, held Atlanta to two runs on four hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one; his 6.39 strikeout-per-walk ratio is the best in the National League.

After allowing five or more runs in five straight starts from mid-May to the beginning of June, 
Blanton has a 3.55 ERA in his last eight starts.

With the current state of pitching around baseball — the first-place Yankees traded for Chad Qualls a month ago — there’s no doubt that a contending team will try to pry Blanton from the Phillies in the next three days.

“It is what it is,” Blanton said. “That’s the business side. I guess that’s the fortunate thing about my career is that I’ve been in the trade rumors a few times. I’ve had to deal with it, so it’s nothing new for me and I realize that, like I just said, that’s the business part of it. You try not to think about it”

After failing in an attempt to land CC Sabathia in July of 2008, the Phils settled on a trade with 
Oakland that brought Blanton aboard. Blanton went 4-0 with a 4.20 ERA and the Phillies won nine of his 13 starts en route to their second straight National League East title. In a postseason that ended with a parade, Blanton went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts.

He’s been a fixture in the Phillies rotation ever since.

“It’s been phenomenal,” Blanton said. “I came, we won the World Series and went back again. 
We’ve been to the playoffs every time I’ve been here. It’s one of the best places to play. Good fans and everything.”

Blanton used his assortment of pitches to keep the Braves off the bases after the third inning. He retired 14 of his last 15 batters.

The only trouble for Blanton Saturday night was that he couldn’t match Minor.

The 24-year-old Minor entered the night with a 5.49 ERA in his first full season in Atlanta’s rotation. But he did his best Tom Glavine impersonation against the Phillies.

Minor held the Phils to one run – a Chase Utley home run – on four hits in eight innings. He struck out nine and walked none.

“He threw a lot of strikes,” Manuel said. “We had some right-handed hitters on him; we had two left-handed hitters in the lineup. We all the right-handed hitter we could have possibly on him. I felt like we had a chance to get him. We didn’t get him.”

When Minor’s work was through, Craig Kimbrel set the Phils down in order in the ninth to send the Braves to victory and plot the “For Sale” sign back on the front door of the visiting clubhouse at Turner Field.

“It’s difficult to understand how we got here from there,” said Hunter Pence, who has seen the Phils go from the best team in baseball to a last-place team possibly selling off parts since his arrival a year ago today.

Thunder sweep a doubleheader from Harrisburg

For The Trentonian

TRENTON — The Thunder were models of efficiency Saturday. They only needed 13 innings to record two wins.

They managed that rare feat by again beating the Harrisburg Senators 5-1 in the bottom half of their doubleheader at Waterfront Park. With Harrisburg’s Brian Broderick pitching in the bottom of 

the sixth, the rain storms that had been threatening all afternoon finally broke through, forcing the game to be called.

Despite it being the team’s fourth game in two days and the hot, humid conditions, the Thunder showed no signs of fatigue, either mental or physical.

“Guys ask me what the trademark of this team is,” manager Tony Franklin said. “The trademark is that they never quit. They just keep playing.”

The Thunder got all the runs they needed in the bottom of the first inning. Jose Pirela and Zoilo Almonte both singled, setting the table for Luke Murton, who drove both runners home with a two-run double.

They were also able to tack on three more in the fourth. Rob Segedin singled home Melky Mesa and moved Kevin Mahoney to third, and Mahoney was then able to score on a Yadil Mujica groundout. A Jose Pirela double scored Segedin despite a close play at the plate.

On the mound, two former starters teamed up to limit the Senators to just one run on six hits. Both Craig Heyer and Graham Stoneburner started the season in the Thunder rotation, and both were moved to the bullpen after coming back from injury. Heyer started the game and gave up one run in 3 2/3 innings, and Stoneburner came in to pitch 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

“My last few outings haven’t been great, so I really wanted to go out and show them I could eat up some innings and be an asset to this team,” Heyer said.

Franklin was certainly appreciative of their efforts.

“We’re starting to get people back and get them healthy, and when you have doubleheaders like we have had the last few days it’s important to have guys that can go out and fill needs,” Franklin said. “(Heyer and Stoneburner) were outstanding.”

The only Harrisburg run came in the first, when a Zach Walters groundout scored Brian Goodwin.

Harrisburg starter Ryan Tatusko gave up five earned runs in four innings of work. Broderick pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

The Thunder conclude their weekend series with Harrisburg Sunday at 5:05.

Even with three Ike Davis homers, Mets can't stop D'Backs

PHOENIX (AP) — Miguel Montero homered, scored twice and drove in a pair of runs to help the Arizona Diamondbacks overcome Ike Davis' three home runs in a 6-3 win over the skidding Mets on Saturday night.

Ian Kennedy pitched into the seventh inning and Gerardo Parra added three hits and two RBIs for third-place Arizona (51-50), which has won eight of 11 to move within 4½ games of NL West-leading San Francisco.

New York managed nothing at the plate besides three solo shots by Davis and lost for the 14th time in 16 games. After an encouraging first half, the Mets are 5-17 in July.

Davis connected in his first three at-bats, all against Kennedy. The first baseman added a single in the eighth and finished 4 for 4, raising his batting average to .216. He was on deck when J.J. Putz struck out David Wright with two on for his 19th save in 22 chances.

A former Arizona State star from nearby Scottsdale, Davis became the ninth Mets player to hit three homers in a game — all on the road. Carlos Beltran was the last to do it on May 12, 2011, at Colorado.

Davis leads the Mets with a career-high 20 home runs this season. He has three career multihomer games.

He homered to straightaway center field in the second and fourth, both well above the yellow line on the backdrop for the batter's eye — one of the deepest parts of Chase Field.

Davis pulled a drive down the right-field line in the sixth, making him the seventh major leaguer to go deep at least three times in a game this season.

With a chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game, Davis singled to right field in the eighth inning against David Hernandez.

Kennedy (9-8) allowed seven hits in 6 1-3 innings while striking out nine. His streak of 85 straight batters faced without a walk ended with a fifth-inning pass to Ruben Tejada.

The Diamondbacks got a run in the first after Parra singled, then beat the throw home on a double to left-center by Aaron Hill.

Davis tied it in the second with his first home run. Arizona responded with recent call-up Ryan Wheeler's first extra-base hit, a double to right-center to drive in Montero and give the Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead.

Parra singled in Wheeler with two outs, but was caught too far off first base on the cutoff throw and was tagged out.

The inning featured a tough defensive play by Tejada, who slid under Wright in foul territory down the left-field line to catch a popup.

Montero's fourth-inning homer, his 11th of the season, was a two-run shot that gave the Diamondbacks a 5-2 lead. Parra's two-out single drove in Wheeler after a walk and a sacrifice.

Davis led off the sixth with his third home run of the game, a line drive over the fence near the right-field corner.

Mets starter Chris Young (2-5) lasted four innings, his second-shortest outing of the season. He allowed six runs on seven hits and threw 68 pitches.

New York put runners at the corners with one out in the eighth, but Hernandez got out of it. Putz whiffed pinch-hitter Scott Hairston and Wright with two on to end it.

Yankees blow late lead to Red Sox

NEW YORK (AP) — Boston had wasted a five-run lead by the time Pedro Ciriaco stepped to the plate in the ninth inning Saturday night and hit a hard fly ball toward center field. He thought Curtis Granderson would catch it.

Then Granderson went in on the ball and sprinted back in an attempt to catch up.

"I thought I had a chance," Ciriaco said, "so I run like a hurricane."

The ball landed for a go-ahead triple as Granderson fell, and the Red Sox came away with a dramatic 8-6 win over the New York Yankees after Vicente Padilla allowed a tying, two-run homer in the eighth to nemesis Mark Teixeira.

Adrian Gonzalez had four RBIs for the Red Sox, who built a 6-1 lead for Jon Lester.

"We were good tonight, and we were lucky," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "He hit that ball, a knuckleball, 380 feet. It's tough to catch. He's pretty hot right now, so I'd say he was good and we were lucky."

A three-time All-Star, Granderson had expected to make the catch.

"I didn't think it was hit as hard as it was," he said. "And, by the time I tried to get back on it, I couldn't get enough steam to get back to it."

Jacoby Ellsbury's one-out walk off Rafael Soriano (2-1) preceded the hit by Ciriaco, who boosted the lead to two runs when he scored on Dustin Pedroia's sacrifice fly.

Playing designated hitter while David Ortiz is on the disabled list, the 26-year-old Ciriaco had three hits to raise his average to .356 in 59 at-bats. He also had the go-ahead hit in Boston's only other win over the Yankees in eight tries this year, a two-run double off Phil Hughes in the second game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park on July 7.

"He just comes in and plays, has good at-bats, runs the bases well," Valentine said. "Makes us a better team."

It was Granderson's second fielding flub against the Red Sox. In that July 7 game, the Yankees were ahead 3-1 when Granderson called for Daniel Nava's fly ball and allowed it to bounce off his glove as right fielder Darnell McDonald moved past him. Granderson initially was charged with an error, but the official scorer later changed it to McDonald's.

"We haven't seen much of that, him getting turned around like that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But it just shows that it's part of the game and sometimes players are going to have the wrong read on balls. It's going to happen in the course of the season, and it won't be the last one, I'm sure."

Andrew Miller (3-1) got one out for the win, and Alfredo Aceves finished for his 22nd save in 26 chances.

New York started to erase its early deficit in the fifth, when Jayson Nix hit a two-run homer and Derek Jeter had an RBI grounder. Then came another matchup of Padilla and Teixeira, who have been jawing at each other from a distance.

Padilla allowed a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez in the eighth, then threw a called third strike past Jeter. Granderson hit two foul drives deep down the right-field line, the second missing a home run by about a foot, before striking out.

Padilla fell behind 2-0 in the count to Teixeira, then lobbed in a 51 mph curveball for a called strike. Teixeira turned on the next pitch, sending it deep into the right-field bleachers. He stared at the ball as he took four short steps up the line, then went into his home run trot.

Padilla wouldn't discuss anything with media. As reporters approached him in the locker room, he said: "About what? One bad day?" turned and walked out.

Teixeira hit a go-ahead, two-run triple off Padilla in the seventh inning at Fenway Park on July 6, sparking a weekend war of words. Padilla accused Teixeira of wronging Latino teammates when they played together on the Texas Rangers in 2006-07, and Teixeira said Padilla threw at hitters and "didn't have a lot of friends in the game." Padilla responded Teixeira would "be better off playing a women's sport."

Teixeira said he's been trying to put the tiff behind.

"Emotion is part of the game, but if you let the emotions get the best of you, especially as a hitter, you swing too hard or you swing at pitches over your head, that does you no good," he said.

Following a rain delay of 2 hours, 4 minutes, Gonzalez hit an RBI double and scored on Will Middlebrook's two-run double in the first, then hit a three-run homer off CC Sabathia in the fifth.

Chris Stewart's first home run since September cut the gap to 3-1 in the third, but Gonzalez boosted the lead with two outs in the fifth when he lined a home run into the right-field bleachers. Gonzalez leads the majors in batting average with runners in scoring position at .418 (41 for 98).

New Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki raced into the right-center gap to rob Gonzalez of an extra-base hit with a catch just in front of the warning track in the seventh.

Lester, who had been 0-3 with a 10.42 ERA in his previous four starts, allowed four runs and four hits in six innings and watched his bullpen blow a lead he left with for the fifth time. He fanned Robinson Cano in the sixth for his 1,000th strikeout.

"We needed to win that game," Lester said. "Guys came back and kept fighting. That was big for us."

NOTES: Valentine caused a stir before the game when he said the Red Sox medical staff instructed him not to play LF Carl Crawford four days in a row, a mandate Valentine said he ignored earlier in the month after the left fielder came off the DL. ... Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona visited with Boston players before the game in the Red Sox clubhouse, preparing for his job as a broadcaster for Sunday night's game on ESPN. ... Sabathia gave up a season-high six runs and eight hits in six innings.

Allentown falls in District 4 title game

WEST DEPTFORD - After two great games in the District 4 Tournament, everything that could go wrong did for the Allentown American Legion baseball team last night at Union Field.
With their team committing six errors, while West Deptford pitcher Joe Palmer tossed a no-hitter for 4 1/3 innings, the locals found themselves in a hole which proved too large. As a result, Allentown dropped a 10–3 decision to West Deptford in the district championship game.
West Deptford (15-13-1) moves on to the State Final 8 at Mercer County Park beginning next Tuesday. Allentown (17-8) will have to return to Union Field at 6 p.m. today to play the winner of the 3 p.m. game between Haddon Heights Post 148 and Bordentown Post 26.
“I hope we get this out of our system,” Allentown manager Matt Zagari said. “We haven’t seen many lefties. I don’t know if that played into it, but he baffled us.”
Palmer went 7 1/3 innings, scattering four hits, striking out 11 and walking only four. On this night, he was not Allentown’s only problem.
While the weather did not get messy because of thunderstorms until the final 2 ½ innings, the game got that way much sooner. Allentown committed six of its seven errors in the first five innings, which caused six of the seven runs charged to starting pitcher Kevin Smith to be unearned. 
Before Allentown got its first hit (an infield single by John Fassl with one out in the bottom of the sixth), West Deptford had opened an 8-0 lead.
Allentown also broke up Palmer’s shutout bid in the sixth when Mike DeAnni hit a two-out, three-run home run. That, however, was the extent of the offense for A’town.
“He hung one,” DeAnni said of the pitch he hit out. “He had us off-balance. It was his curve ball.”
Palmer did not exit until surrendering a double down the left-field line to Brandon Ruetsch with one out and one on in the bottom of the eighth. But reliever Nate Slusarczyk, another left-hander, got out of a bases-loaded jam to keep Allentown from scoring more.
Despite only managing six hits off – Allentown pitchers, West Deptford scored runs in the third through the eighth innings to force  Mercer County’s fourth-place team to play another day.
“It does feel weird to lose a game like this,” DeAnni said. “We’ve got to forget about this. That’s what we have to do.”
The third-year program will have one game to change things today. If it can, Allentown Legion will make its first trip to a Final 8.
West Deptford (15-13-1)  002 141 110-10 6 0
Allentown (17-8)  000 003 000-3 4 7
2B-WD: Fox. A-Ruetsch. HR-A: DeAnni. RBIs-WD: Rutter, Keane, Fox, Easterling; A: DeAnni 3.
WP-Palmer (4-3).  LP-KSmith (1-2).

Friday, July 27, 2012

'Jersey girl' Lloyd back in lineup for US women

AP Sports Writer
GLASGOW, Scotland — As a tough Jersey girl, Carli Lloyd wasn't about to go quietly into the night when she lost her starting job with the U.S. women's soccer team. Instead, she refocused herself and arrived at the Olympics on a mission, and the hard work showed when she came off the bench to score the winning goal in the Americans' opening victory.

Now she's a starter again. With Shannon Boxx nursing an ailing right hamstring, Lloyd will patrol the midfield from the opening whistle Saturday when the Americans play Colombia.
"When I got here, I fought like I was the underdog and I was winning my spot back," Lloyd said Friday. "And I fought day-in and day-out the whole two weeks we were training here. I was in shape, I was feeling good, and that's what it's all about. I didn't put my head down. I didn't pout. My teammates know what I can do.
"I knew that I'd get my opportunity. I knew that I'd seize it and show everyone that I do deserve to be out there."
Boxx was injured early in the first half of the 4-2 win over France and is day-to-day. When she went down, Lloyd only had time to do a quick warm-up jog before running onto the field. She nevertheless showed she was ready, taking a more defensive role to counter fellow midfielder Lauren Cheney but also striking when it mattered, putting the Americans ahead for good with a long strike in the second half.
"That's a very good way to jump in the game and make a difference," coach Pia Sundhage said. "She's been professional. She never once questioned anything. Of course, she wants to play, but you can tell that she was prepared coming into that game."
Lloyd, who turned 30 this month, has been a regular in the starting lineup since 2006. She started every game she played last year and led the U.S. team in minutes at the World Cup. It wasn't until three games before the Olympics that Sundhage started using Lloyd as a sub in the coach's search for the right combination amid a talented group of midfielders.
Sundhage added the caveat that the team was so deep that game-winners would be coming off the bench. Still, no amount of words could hide the fact that it was a demotion for Lloyd.
"I started to get a little down on myself," Lloyd said. "But looking back on everything, I think it was all a positive."
Lloyd said she went home during a break between the team's training camps and worked out for some four hours a day, getting fitter and sharper. She also knew she had to embrace the "game-winners on the bench" mantra and be ready when her number was called.
"It made me dig deeper. I always work hard, but this particular instance made me dig deeper, and I love the challenge," Lloyd said. "I don't back down from a challenge."
Lloyd called her goal against France one of the top five in her career, although it doesn't compare to her game-winner in the gold medal game at the Beijing Olympics four years ago. She also doesn't know whether she'll keep the starting job if Boxx returns.
But it won't be because of a lack of willpower. The native of Delran and graduate of Rutgers reminded reporters that she's worth watching even when she isn't scoring goals.
"I'm a Jersey girl," she said. "And I enjoy crunching people."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

BABE RUTH 15s: WW-P wins a walk-off over Hamilton

HAMILTON – If you think you’ve already seen the most dramatic walk off win possible, you should have seen the one the West Windsor-Plainsboro 15-year olds pulled off Wednesday night in the Southern New Jersey Babe Ruth state tournament at DeMeo Field in Veterans Park.
Behind by a run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, WW-P got new life when a potential game-ending fly ball to right was misplayed. Seconds later John Lappettito singled to drive in the tying run, and soon after scored the winning run on a base hit by Brandon Kocher.
That dramatic finish gave WW-P a shocking 4-3 win over Hamilton in the battle of unbeatens and a spot in Saturday’s 11 a.m. SNJ championship round.
By avenging its doubleheader loss to Hamilton two weeks ago in the District One Tournament final, West Windsor put itself one win away from capturing its first SNJ crown and securing a spot in next week’s Middle Atlantic Regional that starts Wednesday at South Colonie, N.Y.
Hamilton could still earn its second state crown in three years, but would need to beat the survivor of tonight’s Nottingham/Northern Burlington game Friday at 7 p.m. then sweep WW-P as it did July 12 to claim the District One title.
“Certainly we wanted to win the districts. That was goal No. 1 for the summer, but the kids really wanted to win this one too,” WW-P manager Pat O’Brien said. “These kids are becoming known as the ‘heart stopping’ kids, but you can see what kind of battlers they are.”
That was evident over the last two nights at DeMeo as WW-P first rallied late to beat a Northern Burlington team they had never beaten in extra innings, then 24 hours later shocked a Hamilton team it lost to 5-4 and 11-0 in the District One title round.
This was one of those classic games that if you were fortunate enough to watch you won’t soon forget. It featured great pitching by Hamilton’s Austin Constantini and starter Robert Armus and reliever Sean O’Brien for WW-P, spectacular defensive plays by both teams especially WW-P second baseman Zach Bacall, clutch hitting throughout and so many thrills it may have been one of the most exciting BRL tournament games ever in Mercer County.
Hamilton trailed 2-0 after Sidd Kumar kept up his hot hitting with an RBI single in the first and Lappettito singled in the second to drive in Christian Waters who opened with a double.
Constantini settled down and would allow only two singles to the next 14 batters he faced over the next four innings.
By then he was ahead 3-2 after a 3-run third that saw little-used Ross Talbot open with a double, Constantini walk and Tino Malave smack a single scoring Talbot, and Constantini on a botched relay. Kevin Smiegocki’s sac fly got Malave home for the 3-2 lead.
Armus and O’Brien combined to give up only a single and two walks to the next 17 batters they faced the rest of the way. It set the stage for the dramatic ending that began when Waters and Bacall each grounded out to short to put Hamilton one out from victory.
That’s when a line drive to right hit off the top of Mike Glazewski’s glove to keep the game alive. Pinch runner C.J. Markisz scored the tying run on Lappettito’s sharp single past shortstop, and Kocher then ended it with his basehit through the shortstop hole.
“I had turned my head. What happened?” Hamilton manager Mike Moceri Sr. asked about the ball to right Glazewski couldn’t handle. “I’m ready to walk out to the mound like the game is over. We’ll just have to come back. I think we’ll have enough pitching.”
“We were really excited to beat Northern Burlington for the first time, and the momentum from that game just carried into tonight,” said Bacall, whose glove work saved at least two runs.
“We were ecstatic when we saw that ball headed out to right because we knew if it wasn’t caught we had the bats coming up to win it for us,”added Bacall, who made two diving stops in the second to deny Hamilton hits. “Our coaches tell us the team that plays the best defense has the best chance to win.”
Wednesday night the WW-P 15s proved that right.
Hamilton (2-1) 003 0000 - 3 4 2
West Windsor-Plainsboro (3-0) 110 000 2 - 4 8 0
WP- Sean O’Brien. LP – Austin Constantini
2B – WWP: Waters, Borup; H: Malave, Talbot. RBI – WWP:Kocher, Kumar, Lappettito 2; H: Malave, Smiegocki.

Nottingham 15s game against Brick American suspended; to start restart today at 4:30

HAMILTON – The Nottingham 15-year-old all-stars were hoping to be off today before resuming their run through the elimination bracket of the Southern New Jersey Babe Ruth state tournament.
Instead the host squad will have to be back at DeMeo Field by 4:30 p.m. to continue their game with Brick American that was suspended after six innings last night because of a curfew situation at Veterans Park.
Nottingham held a 6-5 lead when play was halted at 11:15 p.m. last night rather than start another inning which would have been stopped when the lights were scheduled to turn off automatically at 11:30 p.m.
Fearing that they could not complete the seventh inning which had to go the distance since Brick was the home team, tournament director Harry DeBonis, the Babe Ruth official on site, told the teams the game would be suspended and resumed today.
It was because of safety situation because once the lights shut DeMeo was in total darkness. The lights shut off exactly on schedule.
“I remember being here one night during the season when the lights shut off in the middle of a pitch,” Nottingham manager Mark Peroni recalled.
When the Nottingham/Brick game is resumed it will kickoff a busy night at DeMeo. Northern Burlington is scheduled to take on its District Five rival Gibbsboro/Voorhees in an elimination game at 5:45 p.m.
Then at 8:15 p.m. unbeaten Hamilton and West Windsor-Plainsboro meet to see which team advances undefeated to Saturday’s championship round.
The completion of the Brick/Nottingham game and later the Hamilton/WW-P contest will both be aired on WRRC ‘The Bronc’ (107.7 FM).
If Nottingham can hold on to its lead it would play the Northern Burlington/GVAA survivor at 7 p.m. tomorrow in another elimination game.
The Nottingham/Brick game didn’t start until 9:15 p.m. because the Northern/WW-P showdown went extra innings before WW-P held on for a 10-7 win. Northern left 20 runners on base, including the bases full in each of the last three innings.
Nottingham had jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings against Brick, as Jake Alu and Mark Peroni singled to start the game and produce a run, before an error on a grounder by pitcher Chris Kline made it 2-0. Steve Loney opened the second with a single, advanced on two wild pitches and scored on Matt Tola’s sacrifice.
Hoping to rebound from its 3-0 loss on Monday night to rival Hamilton, Nottingham saw Brick tie when Austin Abbott singled in two runs and scored on Cory Cathey’s basehit.
Nottingham eventually went up 5-3 when Loney doubled to start the fourth and scored on Tola’s second sacrifice. But Brick got its second  tie when Anthony Assante doubled and came on on Matt Cathey’s basehit. A wild pitch eventually plated Cathey for the 5-5 tie.
Alu walked in the sixth and put Nottingham on top 6-5 when Tola and Peroni followed with back-to-back singles. It took strong relief work from Derek Smith to preserve the lead through the sixth as he struck out the last two batters he faced after two walks following a dropped third strike loaded the bases for Brick and suspended play when the game was stopped wisely rather than risk a ‘blackout’ before the next inning could be completed.
The Brick team isn’t happy it will need to make the 60-minute trip back across Route 195 today to possibly play only one inning.
As much as Nottingham’s 15s enjoy playing they hope to make quick work of today’s suspended game as then get a chance to scout their next SNJ opponent – either GVAA or Northern.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

HEW 14s advance to meet Nottingham in District One showdown at SNJ


SOMERS POINT – Hightstown-East Windsor did its part, and now the District One showdown is set.

HEW, facing elimination, got a solid all-around effort from Jacob Simon to defeat Brick American, 11-4, last night in the 14-year-old Southern New Jersey Babe Ruth League tournament being played at Atlantic Shore’s Fiori Field.

The win puts Hightstown-East Windsor just one victory away from the Middle-Atlantic Regional to be played in Atlantic City.

Standing in its way is Nottingham, which advanced with a win over Mt. Laurel. The two District One powers recently battled it out in the districts with HEW getting the best of the Hamilton Square Gang.

The showdown is set for 6 p.m. at Fiori Field. 

“It is always a great game playing them and it’s a lot of fun,” Simon said. ”I’d like to play them every game. It’s always so competitive and I’m looking forward to it.”

Simon went the distance for the win and he had a pair of hits and two RBIs at the plate. Craig Monahan, Matt Jacobsen and Michael Griffin each had a pair of safeties for HEW.

Hightstown-East Windsor got off to a fast start with Simon leading the game off with a single. Craig Monahan drilled a ball to the gap in right center sending Simon to third.

After an out, Andrel Armondo bounced a ball over second sending both runners home and HEW had a quick 2-0 lead. It might’ve added some more, but Hightstown had a runner caught stealing.

“It was a little nervous knowing you control what it is and you have to throw strikes,” said Simon. “Its exciting playing for your town and it was really fun.”

Brick wasted little time getting on the board, too.

Tim Santiago opened the home first with a walk, stole second and came around on J.T. Hazelet’s double. HEW’s Simon settled down and got out of any further trouble.

Brick took the lead 3-2 in the second when Kenny Campbell singled in one run and another scored on an error.

Simon helped himself in the fourth with a booming two-run double to left center to get HEW back on top at 4-3. Simon’s blast scored Armondo, who walked, and Michael Griffin, who singled to center.

Simon added to the lead when he and Brian Conlon executed a perfect double steal, and Monahan delivered again sending Conlon home and it was 6-3 heading to the home fourth.

Brick threatened in the fifth when the loaded the bases off one hit and a pair of walks, but Simon – aided by a great catch by Armondo – worked out of trouble to preserve the lead.

HEW opened things up in the sixth, plating three runs to take a 9-3 advantage.

The inning was highlighted by RBI singles by Jacobsen and Jack Zosulis. Simon started it off with a single.

Simon started it all and it gladly ended it, too.

“He’s a gamer,’’ said HEW manager Billy Wilmer.

Phils turn back clock to last season for second straight night, rally past Brewers

PHILADELPHIA — Jim Fregosi made an appearance in the Citizens Bank Park pressbox Tuesday night. Pat Burrell was spotted in the dining room.
No, Phillies Alumni weekend isn’t until next month. Fregosi and Burrell are employed by the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants, respectively.
They were among the close to two dozen major league scouts in attendance for a game featuring the Phils and Brewers, two teams that entered the night with a combined 105 losses.
With the July 31 trade deadline less than a week away, there are buyers and there are sellers and there are the Phillies, a team that’s had an identity crisis all month.
The last place Phillies, who have been aggressive buyers in each of the last five summers, have not gone into full-out sell-mode. And perhaps they won’t after watching their former comatose, late-inning offense stir to life for the third straight night.
After Cliff Lee was bounced from the game after allowing four home runs in his last three innings, digging his team into a five-run deficit, the Phils rallied for six runs in the bottom of the eighth to pull off an improbable 7-6 victory.
The Phillies have won three in a row and seven of their last 10.
A night after Erik Kratz scampered home on a sacrifice fly to give the Phils their second straight walk-off win, it was the little-used backup catcher who once again held a starring role. After an ill-advised decision by Milwaukee to pull starter Zack Greinke after seven innings and 87 pitches, Ty Wigginton led off the eighth with a single off Jose Veres and scored two batters later when Kratz launched a two-run home run off Manny Parra.
Kratz’s home run made it a 6-3 game.
But when Jimmy Rollins followed with a fly out to left, the Phils were four outs away from their fourth loss in their last seven games. They didn’t play like a team feeling the pressure of another game that had gotten away, however.
After Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard worked consecutive walks, Carlos Ruiz cleared the bases with a game-tying double and Hunter Pence followed with a go-ahead, bloop single to right.
Perhaps the Phillies won’t be sellers after all. They are 9 ½ games back of the National League’s second Wild Card.
Jonathan Papelbon, who had a blown save and a loss in his previous two outings, closed out Tuesday night’s win with an easy, 1-2-3 ninth inning.
“I have faith that we can come back from this,” Pence said, echoing the clubhouse’s stance on the team’s place in the standings with a little more than two months remaining in the season. “We just have to have a hot streak. And it happens quick. You win a few in a row and you start believing you’re gong to do it every night. And then people start feeling you coming.”
While Lee became derailed at the end of his start — he allowed four home runs in his last three innings — free agent-to-be Zack Greinke was a sore sight for Phillies hitters and a very attractive one for the aforementioned scouts for the first two thirds of the night.
Greinke, who had allowed five runs in two of his last four starts, went three innings in another and was ejected in the other, returned to former Cy Young winner-form. He held the Phils to one run on three hits in seven sharp innings and smacked a two-out, solo home run off Lee before he called it a night.
After giving up a two-out, run-scoring single to Ryan Howard in the first inning, Greinke retired 19 of the 20 batters he faced from the end of the first through the seventh, including the final 14 in a row.
Greinke wouldn’t have a chance to make it 15, as he was replaced by a Brewers bullpen that has yielded 10 runs on seven hits and seven walks in 3 2/3 innings in the last two nights.

Hamilton Post 31 struggles in lopsided loss to Washington Twp.

WEST DEPTFORD — The core members of Hamilton Post 31 have made plenty of good memories playing baseball. Tuesday night will not be among them.
Hamilton simply did not look like itself, falling to Washington Post 521, 19-8, at West Deptford’s Union Field in the first round of the District 4 tournament.
Hamilton was able to put some good at bats together against Washington starter Trevor Connors, and briefly held leads in the third and fifth innings before the wheels absolutely fell off in an 11-run sixth inning that for all intents and purposes ended the game. The game was stopped under the mercy rule after eight innings.
“We just didn’t play smart or well,” said manager Rick Freeman. “Its not the team we are, but it’s the team we were tonight.”
Starter Carston Raab showed flashes of the form he displayed at Steinert this season—including a 4-pitch fifth inning — but was ineffective on the whole, giving up nine runs in five innings of work. Raab came out for the sixth, but gave up four runs without recording an out before being replaced.
“He had a couple chances, I think with 2 outs in the second and fourth, where he couldn’t get the third out,” Freeman said of Raab. “That’s a tough team to try to hold down.”
Hamilton needed two more pitchers to get through the inning. The inning saw 17 Washington batters come to the plate, with six walks, a balk, a wild pitch and a passed ball.
“We gave them eight outs in the sixth inning,” Freeman said. Offensively, Hamilton played well. James Locklear stroked a nice two-run single in the third inning to put his team up 3-2. Eddie Ashley also had a good day at the plate with two doubles. As far as silver linings go, however, that wasn’t much of one.
“You have to hang on to any port in the storm,” Freeman said. “You find whatever positives you can and try build off them.”
After the top of the sixth finally ended, tensions were high in the Hamilton dugout. Coach Brian Giallella was ejected from the game in the bottom of the sixth arguing a call at first base.
Simply put, it was an ugly game, with the two teams combining for 18 walks and eight errors on the evening. Hamilton will now move on to the losers half of the bracket, where they will play Jackson at 3 p.m. on Thursday in West Deptford.
“I’ve been here many times before, just not under these circumstances,” Freeman said. “I’ve been here 27 years and been in the tournament for about 23 of them, and there has been times when we’ve lost the first game and come back and won. It’s just harder waters for all of us.”
Washington – 020 30(11) 03 — 19
Hamilton – 102 022 10 — 8
WP- Connors LP- Raab Home Runs (W) Detz. Doubles (W) Dunn, Elfreth, Seibert (H) Ashley 2. RBI (W) Elfreth 3, Scimeca 2, Detz 2, Bright 2, Losby, Carmalinga (H) Locklear 2, Ashley, Mastrangelo, Raab

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Red hot A's vex Yankees again

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Game-ending hits are becoming so routine these days in Oakland that concession workers have the celebratory whipped-cream pies waiting near the dugout whenever the Athletics are in position for another walk-off win.
Brandon Moss delivered the 10th of the season for the A's when he drove in Yoenis Cespedes with an RBI single with one out in the ninth inning Friday night to give Oakland a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees for their seventh win in eight games.

"There's always that feeling based on the fact we've had so many," manager Bob Melvin said. "There's always that feeling when we get into the last at-bat at home. We just feel like something good is going to happen."
It has seven times in the past 14 home games in a remarkable run of late-inning heroics that have put the low-budget A's within a half-game of a wild-card spot in the American League.
Oakland leads the majors in walk-off wins with 10 players ending up on the receiving end of a pie and Gatorade bath.
"I enjoy it because I get to pie somebody different every night," outfielder Josh Reddick said. "We're not relying on the one person to carry this team right now. It's always fun to do that."
Cespedes started the winning rally with a single with one out in the ninth off Cody Eppley (0-1) for his fourth hit of the game. Jonny Gomes followed with an infield hit.
Moss, who left the bases loaded twice earlier in the game, lined a single to right field and Cespedes slid in safely ahead of Andruw Jones throw to set off another celebration.
"Obviously it would be a lot less stressful if you could score the runs early in the game," Moss said. "But at the same time when you get in that situation and have a chance to come through and you do, it's a huge adrenalin rush. It's a lot of fun. It's what you dream of as a little kid."
The Yankees were completely silenced by Oakland rookie Tommy Milone, who struck out a career-high 10 batters in seven scoreless innings as the A's took a 2-0 lead.
But Oakland failed to build on the single runs scored in the third and fourth inning, squandering numerous scoring chances. The A's left the bases loaded in the first and seventh inning with Moss making the final out both times and stranded 12 runners over the first eight innings.
That helped the Yankees tie the game with a solo homer by Russell Martin off Jerry Blevins in the eighth and by Robinson Cano against Ryan Cook (4-2) to lead off the ninth. Cook has four blown saves in 14 chances.
"You get a couple of runs off the relievers and you figure, you know what, maybe we're going to be able to come back and get ahead," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But we weren't able to."
Milone allowed seven hits and no walks and tied an Oakland record with his 10 strikeouts against the Yankees. He also helped end New York's streak of 43 consecutive games with at least three runs — the longest in the majors since Cleveland's 48-game run in 1994.
The first two game of this series have been a far cry from New York's first visit to Oakland in late May when the Yankees overwhelmed the A's in a three-game sweep to extend their winning streak at the Coliseum to nine games. That was part of a nine-game overall losing streak for the A's, who have recovered since then to post the second best record in the majors to the Yankees since June 2.
"Really it starts with their pitching," Martin said. "Not many teams can contain us like they have in the last couple games. Their guy tonight, I didn't really see a good pitch to hit. He kept getting ahead making good pitches, mixing his speed, (throwing to) both sides of the plate."
After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, the A's struck for single runs in the third and fourth innings against Ivan Nova. Coco Crisp led off the third with a triple and scored on Jemile Weeks' sacrifice fly. Moss and Brandon Inge then hit back-to-back doubles to open the fourth to make it 2-0.
NOTES: Cano had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 23 games. ... Yankees OF Nick Swisher left the game in the seventh with a mild left hip flexor strain and is day to day. ... Milone is the fourth Oakland pitcher to strike out 10 against the Yankees with Bobby Witt the last to do it on July 2, 1993. ... Oakland RF Josh Reddick threw out Mark Teixeira going from first to third on Rodriguez's single in the fourth for his ninth assist of the season.... Yankees RHP Joba Chamberlain (ankle) allowed two runs — one earned — and two hits in a rehab start for Class-A Tampa in the Florida State League. ... Jarrod Parker (6-4) makes his first career start against the New York Yankees on Saturday against Phil Hughes (9-7).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nottingham 12s reach Section 3 final

For The Trentonian
HAMILTON - Behind a masterful pitching performance from Chris Cote and a stellar hitting night from Jake Muller, Nottingham's 12-year-old all-stars rolled to a 10-0 win in the Section 3 Winners Bracket Final over North Howell.
Cote allowed only two hits the entire evening and one came in the first when North Howell’s second batter doubled. North Howell would not be able to make anything of it and Cote got out of the inning unscathed.

When Nottingham came up to hit, they had trouble hitting North Howell’s pitcher who was throwing a lot of curve balls and Nottingham could simply not time it up.
Cote allowed his final hit of the evening in the second but once again made sure the runner was stranded. In Nottingham’s half of the inning Jake Muller finally timed up a curveball and hit a monster shot to make it 1-0.
“He had been throwing a bunch of curveballs and finally threw a fastball but threw a curveball again. I was ahead on hit but got lucky,” Muller said.
Cote ran into his only trouble of the night in the third when he walked three consecutive batters to load the bases. Cote remained cool under pressure striking out the next three batters but driving his pitch count up. “The runners on base didn’t matter to me I was only focused on the guys at the plate” Cote said.
Nottingham broke the game open in the fourth as they really began to time up the curveballs they were being served. Nottingham was patient and was able to coax multiple hits and walks into their own bases loaded situation. They scored their first run of the inning on a wild pitch. Muller would follow that with an RBI single to make it 3-0. Chris Harkness provided the big blow when he hit a two run double to put Nottingham up five.
Cote once again cruised in the fourth but finished the inning with a pitch count of 80. With their feet on North Howell’s throat Nottingham could not put their opponents away in the fourth as they only added a single run on a Dom Chiarallo sacrifice fly.
In the fifth Cote got the first out before giving way to Chiarallo. North Howell did not stand a chance against Chiarallo who was simply throwing fastballs and was able to strike out the two batters he faced.
Nottingham would finally reach the 10 run threshold in the fifth as they scored two runs when there were bases loaded walks and a Chiarallo two RBI single put the game away.
For manager Mark Sacco the game was a complete performance.
“The whole team played great Chris was amazing on the mound and Jake really got the team going.”
When it came to his team's slow start hitting Sacco said, “It was all about patience. These kids are playing in the sectional tournament and are eager to do well.”
If Nottingham can stay patient, a trip to the state tournament could be on the way.
North Howell 000 00 - 0
Nottingham 014 14 - 10
WP: Cote. 2B: Harkness. HR: Muller. RBI: Chiarallo 3, Muller 2, Harkness 2, Cote, Coleman.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Phillies rally for fourth straight win

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hunter Pence’s two-run single in the eighth inning helped extend the Phillies’ winning streak to four games with a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second straight night.
Pence drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with two outs and bases loaded to give the Phillies their first comeback from a post-seventh inning deficit in 39 tries.
Roy Halladay started the game for the first time since May 27, going five innings with six strikeouts and no walks, allowing both Dodger runs. Kyle Kendrick (3-8) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for the win and Jonathan Papelbon’s 21st save closed it out.
Jimmy Rollins scored in the first inning after a lead-off double, a sacrifice by Shane Victorino and a groundout RBI by Chase Utley.
Cliff Lee faces the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday afternoon.

BABE RUTH 13s: Nottingham stays alive

VOORHEES - Matt Ricci's 3-run homer helped pace Nottingham past Northern Burlington 10-6 on Tuesday night to stay alive in the losers bracket of the SNJ state tournament.
Tony Morency struck out the side in the fifth inning for Nottingham and his team hung on after taking a 7-0 lead early on.
Nottingham plays Cherry Hill in the losers bracket at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Sabathia returns, paces Yankees to win

NEW YORK (AP) — Nobody warms to a heat wave more than CC Sabathia.
Pitching on a 95-degree night in New York, the burly left-hander carried a shutout into the seventh inning during his sparkling return from the disabled list and the steamrolling Yankees got an early three-run homer from Andruw Jones in a 6-1 victory Tuesday over the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I love it," Sabathia said about the sweltering temperature. "My arm feels good when it's warm."
Sidelined since June 24 because of a groin strain, Sabathia (10-3) silenced a Blue Jays lineup minus Jose Bautista. The All-Star slugger was placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day.
"They have a good lineup," Sabathia said, "with or without him."
Hard to tell when they face Sabathia. The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner improved to 13-3 against Toronto, including 8-0 with a 2.49 ERA in nine starts since the beginning of the 2007 season.
The good news for Bautista and the Blue Jays is that the wrist injury he sustained Monday isn't as severe as initially feared, so he hopes to be back before long.
"That's a pretty big void anytime you lose a guy like that, so we'll adjust along the way and continue to put up a good game plan," Toronto manager John Farrell said.
The first-place Yankees hardly missed a beat without Sabathia, going 12-6 while their ace was out and extending their AL East lead to a season-high nine games heading into Tuesday. He went on the DL the same day fellow starter Andy Pettitte broke his ankle, but New York just keeps rolling right along.
"It was tough sitting here and watching your teammates go out and battle every day," Sabathia said. "It feels good to come back and be a part of it."
Jayson Nix had three hits in a rare start at third base and Derek Jeter dumped an RBI double inside the right-field line during a three-run seventh that gave the Yankees breathing room. Chris Stewart also had a run-scoring double in a rally that was aided by some shoddy play in the corners by Blue Jays outfielders.
"I think I have a really good bench that can be extremely productive for us," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "It's been really helpful."
Girardi was a little concerned Sabathia might feel too strong after his three-week layoff. But the six-time All-Star flashed a sharp slider and permitted only four hits in six-plus innings. He struck out six and walked one, working around a leadoff double in the second.
"I wasn't expecting as much velocity as he had tonight," said Stewart, who has been catching Sabathia regularly. "I'm glad we have him back."
The 290-pound Sabathia threw 66 of 87 pitches for strikes and walked off to a rousing ovation after Adam Lind's leadoff single in the seventh. Five relievers finished up, with Chad Qualls allowing Colby Rasmus' sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Girardi thinks the injury break will benefit Sabathia in the long run this season.
"CC likes the heat," the manager said. "Can't say that I ever did, but CC really enjoys it."
Rafael Soriano entered with the bases loaded and earned his 24th save in 25 attempts when pinch-hitter J.P. Arencibia lined into a game-ending double play.
The runner doubled off first base to end it was speedy prospect Anthony Gose, just called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to fill Bautista's roster spot. Gose made his big league debut as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and got his first career hit on a bunt single back to the mound in the ninth.
New York (56-34) has won eight of 10 to move a season-best 22 games over .500, the best record in the majors. The Yankees are 35-13 since May 22, including 17-6 at home. They improved to 10-2-1 in their last 13 series.
"We've been doing a little bit of everything," Jeter said. "We've got a pretty good combination of things going right now."
Sabathia's successful return overshadowed an encouraging outing by Brett Cecil (2-2), who entered with a 6.75 ERA in five major league starts this year. The 26-year-old lefty, demoted to Double-A New Hampshire at the beginning of the season, held the powerful Yankees in check for six innings and retired his final eight batters. He struck out five and walked two.
"I felt really good about it," Cecil said. "It was just one pitch."
Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to a career-best 20 games with a leadoff single in the second. Nick Swisher walked and Jones pulled a drive into the left-field corner for his 12th homer.
It was New York's 145th home run, most in the majors. The bottom three hitters in the Yankees' lineup combined for five hits and four RBIs.
NOTES: Girardi did not rule out the possibility of closer Mariano Rivera (knee surgery) returning before the season ends. "He didn't say he was definitely going to make it back," Girardi said. "He's trying, and my anticipation is it's going to be very difficult because it's a short period of time. But we'll see what happens." ... LF Brett Gardner had an MRI after a third setback in his recovery from a strained right elbow that has sidelined him since April 18. Yankees physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad will consult on the results with Dr. James Andrews and Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek. ... Bautista is 1 for 19 against Sabathia. ... Ben Francisco started in RF for the Blue Jays in place of Bautista. Gose, a left-handed hitter, was expected to start Wednesday against RHP Hiroki Kuroda.

Monday, July 16, 2012

BABE RUTH 13s: No. Burlington edges Ewing

For The Trentonian
VOORHEES - Northern Burlington's Paul Madori drove in the winning run with one out in the bottom of the seventh as the District Five runner-ups remained alive in the Southern Jersey Babe Ruth 13-year-old state tournament by defeating Ewing, 7-6.
In a game that many thought would be a high scoring game as both teams had struggled on the mound earlier in the tournament, Northern's Zach Wright and Stephon DeBoskey of Ewing both did a nice job of keeping their team in the game.
The game was not decided until the final pitch, when Madori singled to right. The seventh innings started with a strikeout by DeBoskey for the first out. Zach Fabian followed with a single to center and when the ball was misplayed he ended up on third as the ball rolled all the way to the fence. Ewing then walked John Guzik intentionally and brought in Jimmy Sparano to face Madori. After falling behind 1-2 Miduri made solid contact.
"At first I was going to bunt just to try and get the win but then when the count went to 1-2 I just tried to put the ball in play, It was a fastball that was up a little and I just tried to get a pop up to right," said Madori, who also got the win on the mound - coming in in relief of Wright in the top of the sixth.
Madori's hit made a hard-luck loser of DeBoskey, who came in one pitch into the third inning and pitched three scoreless innings before allowing a run in the sixth and being charged with the winning run in the seventh.
"He came in and gave us three solid innings and gave us a chance to win," said Ewing manager Joe Sparano.
While DeBoskey's pitching over the middle allowed Ewing to take a 6-5 lead late in the game, Sparano felt Wright's ability to recover from the three-run first, and Ewing's inability to capitalize on late opportunities, were keys to the game's outcome.
"I'm looking at the scoreboard and see three "goose eggs" (after the three run first inning)," said Sparano. "And in one inning (the fifth inning), we had runners on second and third with one out and couldn't get them in. We couldn't come through with the clutch hit."
According to Madori, much of that was due to Wright's pitching.
"Zach Wright pitched a great game tonight," said Madori, who was behind the plate catching for Northern Burlington before coming on in relief. "When I went out to the mound I would tell him, 'Just keep throwing strikes'. And that's what he was doing."
That approach worked for Madori on the mound as well.
After a one-out walk to Keiran Zeimet with the game tied at six in the top of the seventh, Madori induced a pair of harmless pop up - setting the stage for his late heroics.
With the win, Northern Burlington advances to face Nottingham in an elimination game tonight at 8:30.
"We knew a lot of those guys because a lot of the guys on this team play on Hamilton A's teams with them," said Madori.
Ewing, after finishing 1-2 in the South Jersey state tournament, will now try to regroup as it hosts the Mid-Atlantic Regional tournament.
Ewing 300 012 0 - 6-9-2
Northern Burlington 050 001 1 - 7 8 2
WP - Paul Madori. LP -  Stephon DeBoskey.
2B - E - Tyray Brecko N- John Guzik. RBI - E - Brecko 3, Jimmy Sparano N - Guzik, Mike Wainright, Madori. SB -  E - Sparano 2 N - Josh Berg, Noah Goldberg

It's a winning streak: Phillies top Dodgers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ryan Howard homered for his first RBI of the season and Joe Blanton pitched eight effective innings to lead the Phillies over the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Monday night.
Jimmy Rollins also went deep and Jonathan Papelbon retired pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy on an easy popup with a runner at third to end it. The last-place Phillies have won three straight and get ace Roy Halladay back from the disabled list Tuesday night after missing seven weeks with a lat injury.

Howard, the 2006 NL MVP who averaged 132.7 RBIs over the previous six seasons and led the NL three times with 140 or more, missed Philadelphia's first 84 games because of the ruptured left Achilles tendon he sustained while grounding out to end last year's NL division series against St. Louis. His leadoff homer in the fourth was his first RBI in six games and 18 at-bats since coming off the disabled list.
Blanton (8-8) allowed two runs and six hits, struck out seven and walked none while helping the Phillies win three straight games for the first time since a four-game stretch May 23-26. The right-hander did not give up a home run for the first time since May 8 against the New York Mets, after 11 consecutive starts in which he allowed at least one and 19 overall.
The Dodgers have the second-fewest homers in the majors, just one more than San Francisco.
Papelbon pitched a scoreless ninth for his 20th save in 22 attempts.
Nathan Eovaldi (1-6) allowed three runs and six hits in five innings before he was removed for a pinch-hitter. The 22-year-old right-hander was moved up a day in the rotation along with Chris Capuano because of an injury to Chad Billingsley, scratched from Sunday's start because of inflammation in his right elbow.
Capuano, who was scheduled to start the opener of this three-game series, lost 7-2 to San Diego after the Dodgers made five errors and gave up six unearned runs.
Juan Pierre, who spent three seasons with the Dodgers and was pushed out of a starting role in 2008 after the acquisition of Manny Ramirez, opened the scoring for the Phillies in the second inning with a two-out RBI single.
Rollins made it 2-0 in the third, driving a 3-2 pitch into the left-field pavilion for his ninth homer. Howard, who flied out to the left-field warning track his first time up, homered to left on Eovaldi's first pitch of the fourth to make it 3-0.
The Dodgers had runners at the corners with one out in the bottom half when third baseman Placido Polanco fielded Juan Rivera's grounder and got lead runner Mark Ellis caught in a rundown. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz ran him back to third, then made a lunging tag with the ball in his other hand, and third base umpire Mike Winters made the "safe" call as Ellis trotted home. But plate ump Bill Miller ruled him out for running outside the baseline trying to avoid Ruiz.
Jerry Hairston Jr. led off the Dodgers' sixth with a double and advanced on a grounder by Ellis that second baseman Chase Utley fielded in the hole before throwing to first. Howard never got the handle on the ball, but first base umpire Wally Bell signaled "out," thinking that Howard had simply dropped the ball after making the transfer from his glove.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly came out to argue. But before he got to Bell, he was already huddling with the other umpires and the call was reversed. Then Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel came out to argue and got a full explanation before returning to the dugout. Matt Kemp came up and drove in Hairston with a groundout.
Rivera led off the seventh with a single and scored on Blanton's two-out wild pitch.
NOTES: The victory was the Phillies' 900th against the Dodgers during the regular season since the rivalry began back in 1890. The Dodgers have beaten them 1,144 times. They've also met in the postseason five times, with the Dodgers winning NL championship series in 1977 and 1978, and the Phillies winning the NLCS in 1983, 2008 and 2009. ... Blanton is 7-0 with a 2.05 ERA in eight starts this season when pitching seven or more innings. In his other 10 starts, he is 1-8 with a 7.67 ERA. ... Howard needs six extra-base hits for 500 in the majors. ... The Dodgers, who swept a four-game series at Philadelphia during the first week of June, have lost six straight to the Phillies at home.