NL East Wrap: Braves escape jam, top Fish in 10

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NL East Wrap: Braves escape jam, top Fish in 10

Thursday, June 9, 2011
Posted: 12:02 a.m.

The Associated Press

Braves 3, Marlins 2

BOX SCORE

MIAMI -- Derek Lowe took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, loaded the bases and departed with his team up by two runs. Then the real excitement began.

The Atlanta Braves survived that scoring threat, gave up the lead one strike from victory, went ahead again in the 10th and escaped another jam to beat the Florida Marlins 3-2.

"The most important thing is we found a way to win," Lowe said. "We've been in a lot of tight games. We're used to it in a strange way. The majority of our games are this way. It comes down to one pitch."

Freddie Freeman singled home the go-ahead run in the 10th.

The wild loss extended the Marlins' losing streak to seven games, their longest since April 2009. Six of the defeats have been by a single run.

After the game Florida announced the firing of batting coach John Mallee. He'll be replaced by Eduardo Perez, son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez.

"I don't want to put it all on John, and I don't want to put it all on Eduardo," president for baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "We just need to find a way to score some runs."

They couldn't again the 37-year-old Lowe, who gave up two hits in 6 2-3 innings. He had his sinker working, with 13 of his 20 outs coming on grounders.

"The wind was blowing in my face and making the ball sink," he said with a smile. "It seems like in about the third inning we were able to get in a good rhythm. It's pretty fun when you can throw the ball where you want. It doesn't happen very often."

The Marlins went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and are 8 for 54 (.148) in those situations during the first six games of their dismal homestand.

Brewers 7, Mets 6

BOX SCORE

MILWAUKEE -- Nyjer Morgan drove in the winning run with two outs in the ninth, Prince Fielder hit two homers and the Milwaukee Brewers rallied with a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.

Milwaukee trailed 6-2 before scoring four times in the eighth, capped by Fielder's second two-run blast.

Craig Counsell singled with one out in the ninth off Dale Thayer (0-1) and stole second when Rickie Weeks struck out.

Morgan then hit a ball down the right-field line to end it and was mobbed at second base first by Fielder, then Weeks as he pointed back to his teammates in celebration.

Ronny Paulino hit a three-run homer for the Mets as part of a five-run eighth that made it 6-2, but New York's bullpen couldn't hold it.

John Axford (2-1) pitched the ninth for the win.

Milwaukee has the best home mark in the majors at 22-8 and haven't lost consecutive games at home all season. The Mets saw their three-game winning streak snapped after winning the opener in this series on Tuesday night.

Milwaukee's bullpen had a 1.88 ERA over its previous 72 innings before Kameron Loe's disaster in the eighth with the Brewers ahead 2-1. Reyes singled and stole second and Justin Turner walked before New York snapped an 0-for-7 streak with runners in scoring position when Carlos Beltran doubled down the right-field line to tie it.

Angel Pagan followed with an RBI single to give New York a 3-2 lead and a bigger celebration followed when Paulino hit his first homer in a Mets uniform three batters later.

Giants 3, Nationals 1

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Cain was at his overpowering best on the mound and even got into the act with his bat to give the San Francisco Giants another close win.

Cain struck out 11 in his first complete game of the season and also hit an RBI double that helped the Giants beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 on Wednesday for their sixth win in eight games.

"He did it all," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was quite a job for Matty. He pitched very efficiently, had all his pitches going. ... It was a great all-around game for him."

Rookie Brandon Crawford hit a tiebreaking RBI triple in the seventh inning and later scored an insurance run to help first-place San Francisco win its their third straight series.

The Giants have played just 11 games this season that have been decided by more than three runs as they kept to the strong-pitching, low-scoring formula that helped them win the World Series last year.

Yunesky Maya delivered the best performance of his career but remained winless in eight career starts as the Nationals could only muster an RBI double by Rick Ankiel in the seventh inning against Cain (5-4).

Cain and Maya were strong early, with the game remaining scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning. That's when the Giants came through with back-to-back, one-out doubles by Eli Whiteside and Cain. The hit was just the third in 27 at-bats this season for Cain and his first RBI in exactly one year.

2011 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Best of MLB: Stephen Strasburg stays unbeaten as Nats pound Cards

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Best of MLB: Stephen Strasburg stays unbeaten as Nats pound Cards

WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg (9-0) won his 12th consecutive decision dating to last season, pitching six innings of one-run ball as Washington salvaged a four-game split.

Strasburg improved to 12-0 in 15 starts since losing to the Mets on Sept. 9, and the Nationals have won all 15 of those games. The 12 consecutive winning decisions is a franchise record for a starter, breaking a mark shared by Livan Hernandez (2005) and Dennis Martinez (1989).

Jayson Werth connected for a pinch-hit grand slam. Wilson Ramos had three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in four runs. Bryce Harper hit an RBI single during a three-run fourth off Michael Wacha (2-6), who lost his sixth straight decision (see full recap).

Dodgers score twice in 9th to top Mets
NEW YORK -- Adrian Gonzalez snapped a ninth-inning tie with a two-run single off suddenly struggling closer Jeurys Familia, and Los Angeles beat New York.

Curtis Granderson hit a tying triple for the Mets immediately after Clayton Kershaw was lifted with two outs in the eighth. But the Dodgers quickly regrouped for their sixth victory in seven games since losing four straight.

Kershaw struck out 10, walked none and capped a magnificent May with another sublime performance.

Adam Liberatore (1-0) got the win. Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.

Familia (2-1) allowed two runs on two hits and two walks (see full recap).

Castro's homer Yanks' only hit in victory
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Starlin Castro's two-run, seventh-inning homer off Jake Odorizzi was the Yankees' only hit of the game, enough to give New York a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

According to Baseball Reference data going back to 1913, the Yankees' only other one-hit win was when Charlie Mullen had an RBI single to beat Cleveland in six innings in a doubleheader nightcap on July 10, 1914.

Nathan Eovaldi (6-2) gave up one run and six hits in six innings to win his career-best fifth consecutive start and beat Odorizzi (2-3).

Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman each pitched a perfect inning and combined for seven strikeouts. Chapman got his seventh save (see full recap).

Deitrich hurt on odd play in Marlins' win over Braves
ATLANTA -- Derek Dietrich hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer and drove in four runs before getting hurt on a foul ball hit into Miami's dugout.

Dietrich's homer landed deep in the lower section of the right-field seats in the sixth, giving Miami a 3-1 lead. A former Georgia Tech star, Dietrich added a two-run double off Eric O'Flaherty in the seventh inning, then was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Christian Yelich in the ninth.

The team said X-rays were negative and Dietrich was to remain in Atlanta on Sunday night for further evaluations.

Tom Koehler (3-5) allowed three runs -- two earned -- three hits and five walks in seven-plus innings. Julio Teheran (1-5) gave up three runs, five hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings (see full recap).

Correa's home run lifts Astros over Angels in 13
ANAHEIM, Calif.  -- Pinch-hitter Carlos Correa had a three-run homer off Mike Morin (1-1) in the 13th inning.

Correa got a run-scoring hit in the 13th inning for the second time in six games, following up his game-ending single against Baltimore on Tuesday.

Albert Pujols had three hits for the Angels, who blew an eighth-inning lead and stranded 14 runners while losing for the fourth time in five games.

Michael Feliz (3-1) pitched the 12th for Houston (see full recap).

Report: P.J. Carlesimo won't join Sixers' coaching staff

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Report: P.J. Carlesimo won't join Sixers' coaching staff

It doesn't sound like the Sixers' replacement for Mike D'Antoni will be the most rumored name for the position.

NBA coaching veteran P.J. Carlesimo has decided to not join Brett Brown's staff as associate head coach and instead will remain a television analyst, according to tweets Sunday night by ESPN's Mark Stein.

Stein added that despite "strong mutual interest," Carlesimo made the decision for family reasons.

The 67-year-old Carlesimo has spent parts of nine seasons as a head coach in the league and five more as an assistant. He was last on a NBA bench when he took over as the Brooklyn Nets' interim head coach in 2012-13.

So the Sixers still have a vacancy on their bench after D'Antoni, who joined the Sixers in the middle of last season after Jerry Colangelo joined the organization, signed on to become head coach of the Houston Rockets last week. Who the team's next choice for the role is remains to be seen.

Stanley Cup Final: Long roads culminate for both Sharks and Penguins

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Stanley Cup Final: Long roads culminate for both Sharks and Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- It wasn't supposed to take the San Jose Sharks this long to reach their first Stanley Cup Final. It wasn't supposed to take this long for Sidney Crosby to guide the Pittsburgh Penguins back to a destination many figured they'd become a fixture at after winning it all in 2009.

Not that either side is complaining.

Certainly not the Sharks, whose nearly quarter-century wait to play on the NHL's biggest stage will finally end Monday night when the puck drops for Game 1. Certainly not Crosby, who raised the Cup after beating Detroit seven years ago but has spent a significant portion of the interim dealing with concussions that threatened to derail his career and fending off criticism as the thoughtful captain of a team whose explosiveness during the regular season too often failed to translate into regular mid-June parade through the heart of the city.

Maybe the Penguins should have returned to the Cup Final before now. The fact they didn't makes the bumpy path the franchise and its superstar captain took to get here seem worth it.

"I think I appreciated it prior to going through some of those things," Crosby said. "I think now having gone through those things I definitely appreciate it more. I think I realize how tough it is to get to this point."

It's a sentiment not lost on the Sharks, who became one of the NHL's most consistent winners shortly after coming into the league in 1991. Yet spring after spring, optimism would morph into disappointment. The nadir came in 2014, when a 3-0 lead over Los Angeles in the first round somehow turned into a 4-3 loss. The collapse sent the Sharks into a spiral that took a full year to recover from, one that in some ways sowed the seeds for a breakthrough more than two decades in the making.

General manager Doug Wilson tweaked the roster around fixtures Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, who remained hopeful San Jose's window for success hadn't shut completely even as the postseason meltdowns piled up.

"I always believed that next year was going to be the year, I really did," Thornton said. "I always thought we were a couple pieces away. Even last year not making the playoffs, I honestly thought we were a couple pieces away, and here we are."

The Penguins, like the Sharks, are a study in near instant alchemy. General manager Jim Rutherford rebuilt the team on the fly after taking over in June, 2014 and with the team sleepwalking last December, fired respected-but-hardly-charismatic Mike Johnston and replaced him with the decidedly harder-edged Mike Sullivan. The results were nearly instantaneous.

Freed to play to its strengths instead of guarding against its weaknesses, Pittsburgh rocketed through the second half of the season and showed the resilience it has sometimes lacked during Crosby's tenure by rallying from a 3-2 deficit against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals, dominating Games 6 and 7 to finally earn a shot at bookending the Cup that was supposed to give birth to a dynasty but instead led to years of frustration.

True catharsis for one side is four wins away. Some things to look for over the next two weeks of what promises to be an entertaining final.

Fresh faces
When the season began, Matt Murray was in the minor leagues. Now the 22-year-old who was supposed to be Pittsburgh's goalie of the future is now very much the goalie of the present. Pressed into action when veteran Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion on March 31, Murray held onto the job even after Fleury returned by playing with the steady hand of a guy in his 10th postseason, not his first. San Jose counterpart Martin Jones served as Jonathan Quick's backup when the Kings won it all in 2014 and has thrived while playing behind a defense that sometimes doesn't give him much to do. Jones has faced over 30 shots just four times during the playoffs.

"HBK" is H-O-T:
Pittsburgh's best line during the playoffs isn't the one centered by Crosby or Malkin but Nick Bonino, who has teamed with Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin to produce 17 goals and 28 assists in 18 games. Put together when Malkin missed six weeks with an elbow injury, the trio has given the Penguins the balance they desperately needed after years of being too reliant on their stars for production.

Powerful Sharks
San Jose's brilliant run to the Finals has been spearheaded by a power play that is converting on 27 percent (17 of 63) of its chances during the playoffs. The Sharks are 9-2 when they score with the man advantage and just 3-4 when it does not.

Old men and the C(up)
Both teams have relied heavily on players who began their NHL careers in another millennium. Pittsburgh center Matt Cullen, who turns 40 in November, has four goals during the playoffs. Thornton and Marleau, both 36, were taken with the top two picks in the 1997 draft that was held in Pittsburgh while 37-year-old Dainius Zubrus draws stares from younger teammates when he tells them he used to play against Hall of Famer (and current Penguins owner) Mario Lemieux.

"When I say 'Twenty years ago I was playing against Lemieux, they say 'I was 2-years-old,'" Zubrus said.