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Wednesday, 23 April 2014 10:09
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NEW YORK (AP) -- Adam Wainwright threw seven neat innings before leaving with a knee injury, and Jon Jay hit a two-run single that sent the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-0 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
 
Left fielder Matt Holliday robbed Chris Young of a tying homer, one night after the Mets played some dazzling defense of their own to post a shutout in the series opener.
 
Wainwright (4-1) faced the minimum through four innings and outpitched Dillon Gee. It was the second consecutive scoreless start for Wainwright, who tossed a two-hit shutout last Thursday at Washington.
 
This time, the right-hander allowed four singles and walked none to extend his scoreless streak to 17 innings. He struck out three but was pulled after 79 pitches following an awkward tumble in the seventh.
 
Young fisted a short flare between the mound and first base. Wainwright went after it and lunged at the ball, but was unable to grab it and fell to the grass. Young was tagged out by first baseman Matt Adams, and Wainwright never threw another pitch.
 
He left the game with a hyperextended right knee.
 
Kevin Siegrist tossed a perfect eighth and Trevor Rosenthal completed the Cardinals' fourth shutout in 21 games this season. He worked around two walks in a hitless inning for his sixth save.
 
Holliday added an RBI single off Jose Valverde in the ninth for the Cardinals, who had lost four of six following a four-game winning streak. St. Louis starters entered with a 0.90 ERA in the previous eight games.
 
Even when Wainwright made a mistake, he got help. Holliday leaped at the fence to take a two-run homer away from Young in the fifth. Two batters later, Wainwright hung a curve but Travis d'Arnaud banged it right to shortstop for an inning-ending double play.
 
Curtis Granderson went 0 for 3 for the Mets before a sparse crowd announced at a season-low 20,220. The slumping newcomer is hitless in his last 22 at-bats during a 4-for-50 slide.
 
New York had won five of seven.
 
Rain fell in the first inning and Gee (1-1) matched zeros with Wainwright until the fourth.
 
Holliday drew a leadoff walk and the Cardinals loaded the bases on consecutive singles by Adams and Yadier Molina. Jay hit a sharp grounder through the box for a two-run single that ended New York's season-best scoreless streak at 20 innings.
 
Gee, who beat Arizona last Wednesday, had gone 10 innings without giving up a run.
 
The right-hander buckled down and prevented further damage - even after Jay prevented a double play with a hard slide at the plate that took out d'Arnaud. Mets manager Terry Collins came out for a chat with umpire John Kellogg, but the play looked clean.
 
Gee gave up six hits over six innings in the latest solid outing for Mets starters, who have a 1.98 ERA in the last eight games.
 
NOTES: Molina extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said LHP Tyler Lyons will get another start this weekend against Pittsburgh. Pitching in place of injured Joe Kelly, Lyons allowed two runs in six innings of a 2-0 loss to the Mets on Monday night after he was called up from Triple-A Memphis. "He impressed us," Matheny said. "He gave us a chance." ... Matheny said slumping CF Peter Bourjos will play against left-handers, and the Mets are scheduled to start LHP Jonathon Niese on Wednesday night. Matheny kept Jay in the lineup Tuesday, however, because he thinks the Cardinals need to "capitalize" on the good at-bats he's taking right now. ... Omar Quintanilla was at shortstop for the Mets instead of regular starter Ruben Tejada, who had a strong game Monday. Quintanilla entered 4 for 12 against Wainwright but went 0 for 2 with an error and a diving catch. ... Collins said OF Bobby Abreu is likely to get his first start for the Mets in the series finale Thursday against RHP Lance Lynn. ... David Wright's hitting streak ended at 12 games.
 
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 23:34
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Albert Pujols reached 500 homers in a hurry.
 
The Los Angeles Angels' first baseman hit a pair of shots off Washington Nationals right-hander Taylor Jordan on Tuesday night - a three-run homer in the first inning and two-run drive in the fifth - to become the 26th player in major league history to reach the milestone.
 
Pujols is the first player to collect his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, according to STATS. About three months past his 34th birthday, he's also the third-youngest to get to 500; Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx were both 32.
 
Making a quick recent surge, Pujols has eight homers this season, all in the past 13 games.
 
The 500th went to left-center field at Nationals Park, on an 89 mph pitch with the count at 1-2. Pujols clapped his hands together a few strides before trotting home, then pointed both index fingers to the sky. As soon as he touched the plate, Pujols was greeted by his Angels teammates, who streamed over from the visiting dugout.
 
Fans gave the three-time NL MVP a partial standing ovation, and he acknowledged the spectators by tipping his red batting helmet as he approached the dugout. After heading down the steps, he came back out for a curtain call.
 
In other at-bats Tuesday, Pujols struck out swinging in the second inning and grounded to shortstop in the seventh.
 
After a couple of down-for-him years with the Angels following 11 transcendent seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, a healthier Pujols appears ready to reclaim his spot among the game's elite hitters. He homered Friday and Saturday in games at the Detroit Tigers to lift his career total to 498, and now he's reached the round number of 500 - a total that remains hallowed despite losing its luster in recent years because so many players have surpassed it.
 
Of the 26 members of the 500-homer club, 11 have reached the mark in the last 15 years, according to STATS. Gary Sheffield was the most recent player to do it, hitting No. 500 on April 17, 2009.
 
"It's huge. That's a lot of balls over the fence. That's a lot of them. Albert's one of the great hitters of this generation," Nationals manager Matt Williams said before his team's series against the Angels. "The ability to not only hit home runs, but the ability to hit .330 and drive in 100-plus every single year - that's saying something. That's the ultimate guy you want on your team, because he provides it all."
 
The Cardinals selected Pujols in the 13th round of the 1999 draft, with the 402nd overall selection - a steal if ever there was one. Pujols stormed onto the scene as a 21-year-old rookie in 2001, hitting .329 with 37 homers and 130 RBIs.
 
He won a batting title in 2003, National League MVP awards in 2005, 2008 and 2009, and World Series titles with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011. Pujols was the first player to hit 30 homers in each of his first 12 seasons and the second - after Al Simmons in 1924-34 - to reach 100 RBIs in each of his first 10.
 
A nine-time All-Star, Pujols hit 455 homers with the Cardinals.
 
So many power hitters of this era, have come under suspicion of using performance-enhancing drugs. Earlier this year, radio host and former Cardinals player Jack Clark apologized for and retracted comments he made in 2013 implying that Pujols used steroids. Pujols sued Clark for defamation in October.
 
After his decade-plus of excellence in St. Louis, Pujols signed a 10-year deal worth $240 million with the Angels following the 2011 season. Almost immediately, the 6-foot-3 slugger appeared to be slowing down. He hit .285 with 30 homers in 2012 - impressive numbers for most players, but career lows at that point for Pujols.
 
Things got even worse in 2013. Injuries limited Pujols to 99 games, and he was sidelined from July 26 on. He ended up hitting .258 with 17 homers and 64 RBIs.
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 23:32
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NEW YORK (AP) -- Tyler Lyons stepped into the St. Louis rotation and looked right at home. Too bad for him, the Cardinals couldn't get anyone home to help him.
 
Jenrry Mejia pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning, David Wright delivered another key hit and the New York Mets blanked St. Louis 2-0 Monday night.
 
Lyons (0-1) lost in his first major league game of the season. Promoted from Triple-A Memphis earlier in the day to take the rotation spot of injured Joe Kelly, he allowed two runs and six hits in six innings.
 
"There were good things, there were things definitely to build on," Lyons said. "Just got to eliminate some of those other miscues."
 
A 26-year-old lefty with a big-breaking slider, Lyons struck out seven. He's another in the long line of tall, homegrown pitchers developed by the Cardinals, and went 2-4 last year in his first big league season.
 
Lyons struck out the first two batters in the third before Eric Young Jr. singled for the Mets' first hit. Slumping Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch and Wright singled for a 1-0 lead.
 
Lyons' throwing error on a tapper set up another run in the sixth. Daniel Murphy walked, later stole third and scored on a single by Travis d'Arnaud.
 
"Overall it was OK, but it was tougher to swallow when you do couple those things where you kind of beat yourself," he said.
 
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny liked what he saw from Lyons.
 
"He did a nice job and got into a tough spot there and had to work himself out," he said.
 
"The non-plays, the free bases, they get us. That's all there is to it. When we're not hitting, they really glare," he said.
 
Wright lined an early RBI single that extended his hitting streak to 12 games and Kyle Farnsworth earned his first save as the New York's newest closer.
 
On an evening when the Mets debuted new camouflage tops to salute the military, they looked sharp. The Cardinals lost for the third time in four games, and have been shut out three times this season.
 
Mejia (3-0) bounced back well from a torn blister on his right middle finger that limited him to five innings in his last start. The 24-year-old righty began the game by getting Matt Carpenter to look at three straight strikes, and rarely was in trouble.
 
Mejia struck out seven in 6 2-3 innings and walked three. Scott Rice and Carlos Torres each got two outs before Farnsworth entered.
 
Mejia escaped his biggest jam in the sixth when, with runners at the corners and one out, he retired Matt Holliday on a popup and Matt Adams on a grounder.
 
The previous inning, the Mets backed Mejia with a sweet double play. Shortstop Ruben Tejada dived to stop Jon Jay's grounder up the middle and flipped to Murphy, and the second baseman made a barehanded catch and spun quickly for the relay.
 
NOTES: Cardinals C Yadier Molina stretched his hitting streak to 12 games. ... St. Louis SS Jhonny Peralta was hitless in three at-bats and is in an 0-for-15 rut. ... Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (3-1, 1.80) starts Tuesday night against RHP Dillon Gee (1-0, 3.71) in the second game of a four-game series. ... Kelly strained his left hamstring trying to beat out a bunt last week and was put on the 15-day disabled list. St. Louis RHP Eric Fornataro made his major league debut and pitched a perfect eighth. Molina waited outside the dugout to pat him on the head. "I haven't pitched in about a week. That was the biggest part not being on the mound in a week," Fornataro said. "I kind of just toned it down a little bit and tried to throw strikes, tried not to worry about throwing too hard or anything."
Monday, 21 April 2014 22:34
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CHICAGO (AP) -- Corey Crawford made 34 saves in his third career postseason shutout, and the Chicago Blackhawks got back into their playoff series with the St. Louis Blues with a 2-0 victory in Game 3 on Monday night.
 
Jonathan Toews scored in the first period and Marcus Kruger added an empty-netter as Chicago bounced back after a pair of overtime losses in St. Louis. Toews' 21st postseason goal was only the second score by a Blackhawks forward in the series.
 
Ryan Miller shook off another slow start and made 23 saves for St. Louis.
 
Monday, 21 April 2014 22:33
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Cardinals managed to score twice against Stephen Strasburg while starter Shelby Miller kept the Nationals offense quiet. Nine outs away from taking yet another series from Washington, St. Louis' defense and bullpen couldn't finish the job.
 
Denard Span hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning and Washington, with Bryce Harper back in the lineup and stealing his first base of the season, rallied past the Cardinals 3-2 on Sunday.
 
The Cardinals gave up two runs in the seventh and the game-winning score in the ninth. They weren't charged with any errors in those innings but failed to record two potential outs.
 
Washington took advantage of each opportunity.
 
The Nationals loaded the bases in the ninth against Seth Maness (0-1). Danny Espinosa singled through third baseman Matt Carpenter's legs with one out for his third hit, Jose Lobaton singled through the right side of the infield and pinch hitter Nate McLouth walked.
 
"That's a play I'm expecting to make and a play that I expect myself to make, and I didn't make it," Carpenter said. "It ended up costing us."
 
In his second game since he was activated from the seven-day disabled list after a concussion, Span lofted a fly ball to left field. Espinosa easily beat the throw from Jon Jay, who shifted over from right as St. Louis used a five-man infield.
 
The Nationals tied the game with four straight singles off reliever Carlos Martinez in the seventh. Ian Desmond's RBI grounder through the right side confused second baseman Daniel Descalso.
 
Instead of a potential double play, the Nats scored, and the inning went on. Espinosa had three hits, including the game-tying RBI single off Martinez.
 
The Nationals, who had costly errors earlier in the series, split the four games.
 
"When we didn't play good defense, we ended up getting beat," Descalso said. "When they didn't play good defense, they ended up getting beat. So that was kind of the way the series went."
 
Washington had lost eight of the previous nine meetings with the Cardinals.
 
Miller left with the lead after pitching 5 1-3 innings. He also hit a two-out RBI double off Strasburg in the fourth.
 
St. Louis starting pitchers had an RBI in three of the four games against Washington. Miller allowed four hits, striking out seven and walking five.
 
Matt Adams doubled twice and scored for the Cardinals.
 
Harper started in left field and went 1 for 4. The two-time All-Star was pulled from the game a day earlier for what manager Matt Williams called a "lack of hustle" after he failed to run out a comebacker to the mound.
 
The two spoke before Sunday's game.
 
NOTES: Cardinals OF Matt Holiday didn't play. It was a day of rest, manager Mike Matheny said. ... St. Louis will recall LHP Tyler Lyons from Triple-A Memphis to start at the New York Mets and send RHP Jorge Rondon to Memphis before Monday night's series opener. Last season, Lyons finished 2-4 with a 4.75 ERA in 12 appearances, including eight starts for the Cardinals. He replaces RHP Joe Kelly (strained left hamstring), who was put on the disabled list Thursday.
 
Sunday, 20 April 2014 23:14
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- There's a simple reason St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha felt comfortable putting a changeup in the ground with the bases loaded in the seventh inning of a tie game.
 
Yadier Molina was behind the plate.
 
"He's as good as anybody that I've ever seen, as far as keeping the ball in front," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said about his catcher. "That's a spot that we want (Macha) being able to throw balls in the dirt, because we know (Molina's) going to make that play almost all the time. Today was one of those times that's very rare."
 
Wacha's wild pitch was compounded by Molina's throwing error to allow two unearned runs, helping Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals beat St. Louis 3-1 Friday night.
 
Gonzalez (3-1) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, retiring the last 11 batters he faced. He finished with seven strikeouts and one walk as Washington ended an eight-game losing streak against St. Louis that dated to Game 5 of the teams' 2012 NL division series.
 
Wacha (2-1) gave up five hits and one earned run. But a night after the Nationals made three errors - they initially were charged with four, but one was changed to a hit Friday - it was the Cardinals' turn to be sloppy.
 
St. Louis finished with three errors, two coming in the pivotal seventh inning.
 
A pair of singles and an error by third baseman Matt Carpenter - who dropped Wacha's throw of Danny Espinosa's bunt - loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh.
 
"I stretched before I saw where it was going and ended up missing it. It was a good throw. I should have caught it," Carpenter said. "But it tipped off my glove and ended up being the difference in the game."
 
Wacha struck out Nate McLouth and got Jose Lobaton to hit a roller that led to a forceout at home. But with pinch hitter Zach Walters up, Wacha's pitch darted away from Molina, who won his sixth consecutive NL Gold Glove award in 2013.
 
"Just spiked a changeup," Wacha said.
 
With Ian Desmond racing home from third, Molina tried to make an underhand toss to Wacha. But the throw - which did not appear in time to beat Desmond, anyway - was off-target. It went into the Cardinals' dugout, allowing Espinosa to score, too.
 
"I'm just trying to make a play," Molina said. "I threw it away. My fault."
 
Desmond shouted and punched the air, a 1-1 game suddenly 3-1.
 
"Desi made the decision instantly to get toward the plate," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "He read it correctly."
 
As for the surprise factor, Williams said: "You never see a ball get away from Yadi. Ever."
 
On Sept. 24, in his ninth career start, Wacha no-hit the Nationals until there were two outs in the ninth inning, when Ryan Zimmerman's infield single ended the bid.
 
This time, Washington had three hits by the third, punctuated by Anthony Rendon's solo shot with two outs in the third. Rendon drove the first pitch of the at-bat, a 74 mph curveball, into the visitor's bullpen beyond left field for his third homer.
 
The Cardinals evened things in the fourth, when Allen Craig doubled off the wall in right, Molina singled, and Mark Ellis drove in a run with a blooper that right fielder Jayson Werth awkwardly attempted to reach but didn't. It was ruled a single.
 
Tyler Clippard came on for the eighth and needed 26 pitches just to get one out, on Jhonny Peralta's comebacker, after pinch hitter Jon Jay doubled and Carpenter walked. With runners on second and third, and No. 3-4 batters Matt Holliday and Craig coming up, Clippard was replaced by Drew Storen.
 
"You've got two great hitters right there, guys in scoring position," Storen said.
 
He was the closer back in October 2012, when he let the Cardinals erase a 7-5 deficit with two outs in the top of the ninth of Game 5 to win 9-7.
 
This time, Storen got Holliday on a popup in foul territory, then Craig on a groundout, before Rafael Soriano shook off a comebacker that hit his leg and a walk in the ninth to earn his fourth save.
 
"A good win. They're a tremendous team. They've gotten the best of us in the past," Rendon said. "But we're trying to change that."
 
NOTES: On Saturday, Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (3-0, 4.00) will face Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 5.27 ERA). ... Molina has hit in 10 straight games.
 
Friday, 18 April 2014 22:14
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Friday, 18 April 2014 10:36
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Alexander Steen scored at 26 seconds of the third overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Thursday night.
 
Steen beat Corey Crawford off a pair of short passes from Steve Ott and David Backes to cap the longest overtime game in franchise history.
 
"It's big. We want to start this series off on a good note," Steen said. "Especially at home in front of our fans."
 
Ryan Miller blanked the Blackhawks after Patrick Kane scored on a breakaway to put Chicago up 3-2 late in the first period and Jaden Schwartz tied it with 1:45 to go in regulation.
 
Both teams face a short turnaround with Game 2 Saturday afternoon.
 
The Blues' previous longest overtime game was a 4-3 loss at Detroit in 1984 that extended 37 minutes, 7 seven seconds. The home record for a playoff overtime game was 33:49 extra time in a 5-4 win over Chicago on April 20, 1989.
 
St. Louis had to kill off delay-of-game penalties for shooting the puck into the stands in the first two overtimes. The Blackhawks killed a holding penalty in the second overtime.
 
Jonathan Toews, like Kane back from a lengthy injury absence, had two assists for Chicago.

 
Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko and Adam Cracknell all scored their first playoff goal for the Blues.
 
The Blackhawks kept the Blues penned in their own zone for 2:10 during the first overtime, and Maxim Lapierre made the save of the session getting his body on a drive by Kris Versteeg with less than two minutes remaining.
 
Tarasenko was among the best players coming off a 15-game absence because of a broken thumb.
 
Cracknell tapped in a rebound early in the first to end a scoring drought of 148 minutes and 39 seconds for a team that got shut out the last two games of the regular season.
 
Kane scored his 30th career playoff goal after catching the defense napping at the end of a St. Louis power play, beating Miller off a long lead pass from Toews for a 3-2 lead at 18:24 of the first.
 
Miller allowed three goals on just seven shots in the first with defensemen Johnny Oduya and Brent Seabrook also scoring for Chicago.
 
St. Louis' top line of David Backes, Steen and Ott was a combined minus-5 in the first. Ott was a bit of surprise, considering he was minus-7 during the Blues' six-game losing streak to end the regular season.
 
Crawford faced just three shots in the second, but needed big saves to thwart Tarasenko and Ott. He made glove saves on drives by Steen and Tarasenko not long before Schwartz got the equalizer.
 
NOTES: Oduya and Seabrook combined for 10 goals in the regular season. Oduya's goal was first credited to Kris Versteeg on a deflection. ... St. Louis got most of its injured players back but key forward T.J. Oshie (head) and Patrik Burglund (shoulder) were scratches. ... Kane had two goals and four assists against St. Louis in the regular season and Toews had a goal and three assists.
Friday, 18 April 2014 00:34
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Missouri coach Frank Haith is in position to replace Danny Manning at Tulsa.
 
A person with knowledge of the situation at Tulsa says Haith is the front-runner for the job, and he traveled to the school on Thursday afternoon to discuss a possible deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because nothing had been finalized.
 
Haith coached at Miami (Fla.) before taking over at Missouri. He led Missouri to a 30-5 record in 2011-12 and was The Associated Press Coach of the Year. The Tigers went 23-12 this season.
 
Manning left Tulsa after two seasons to take over at Wake Forest. He coached the Golden Hurricane to the NCAA tournament this season.
 
Haith would be leaving an uncertain situation. Missouri's top scorer last season, Jabari Brown, was a senior. Brown, who had transferred to Missouri from Auburn, led the Southeastern Conference with 19.9 points per game last season. Missouri went 7-8 after the start of February, missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in six years and lost to Southern Mississippi in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.
 
While Missouri plays in the high-profile Big 12, Tulsa might be a more stable situation for Haith.
 
The Golden Hurricane went 17-16 and played in the CBI tournament two years ago. This past season, Tulsa improved to 21-13, won the Conference USA tournament and reached the NCAA tournament with a young team. Sophomore guard James Woodard was a second-team all-conference pick, and forwards Rashad Smith, Lew Evans and D'Andre Wright and guards Shaquille Harrison and Rashad Ray were sophomores who played significant roles.
 
The Golden Hurricane will be moving to the American Athletic Conference next season, which includes national champion Connecticut.
Thursday, 17 April 2014 22:45
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