NL East Wrap: Braves stay hot; Yankees top Mets


NL East Wrap: Braves stay hot; Yankees top Mets

Friday, July 1, 2011
Posted: 11:40 p.m. Updated: July 2, 12:30 a.m.

The Associated Press

Braves 4, Orioles 0


ATLANTA -- Jair Jurrjens' first career shutout served as a well-timed advertisement for his candidacy to be the NL All-Star starting pitcher.

Jurrjens threw a one-hitter in his strongest start of a breakout season, Jason Heyward ended a long home-run drought and the streaking Atlanta Braves beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 on Friday night.

Jurrjens (11-3) became the first NL pitcher with 11 wins and lowered the NL's best ERA to 1.89 in a performance that will almost certainly get the attention of San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy as he decides on an All-Star starter.

"That was a pretty good performance that maybe will get some people's attention," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, adding Jurrjens deserves to "at least be on the team."

Adam Jones ended Jurrjens' no-hit bid with his single up the middle with one out in the seventh. Jones stole second but was stranded there as Jurrjens struck out Matt Wieters and Derrek Lee.

"A bouncer," Jurrjens said of Jones' hit, shaking his head. "I would prefer to give up a line drive off the wall."

Jurrjens recorded 15 straight outs before Mark Reynolds walked to lead off the sixth.

Jeremy Guthrie (3-10) threw five scoreless innings, allowing only a walk and a hit, before giving up Heyward's first homer since April 29, a two-run shot in the sixth.

Jurrjens threw 101 pitches through eight innings but was allowed to pitch the ninth with closer Craig Kimbrel standing on the bullpen mound. Jurrjens pitched a perfect ninth for his second complete game of the season.

"When you have a chance to go out and finish your own game, it's a good feeling," Jurrjens said.

Jurrjens struck out eight and walked one batter. He earned his 11th win in his 15th start. The last Atlanta pitcher to reach 11 wins in 15 starts was Tom Glavine in 2002.

"Outstanding," Gonzalez said. "It was one of his best performances of the season so far. He's been the most consistent pitcher we've had, and today was no different."

Yankees 5, Mets 1


NEW YORK -- Eduardo Nunez did quite an impression of Derek Jeter.

Filling in for the injured star shortstop, Nunez got the big hits, made a clutch throw -- and navigated his first postgame session in the interview room.

Nunez had an RBI single among his career-high four hits and threw out Jose Reyes at third base on a favorable call for the New Yankees in a 5-1 victory over the crosstown rival Mets on Friday night.

"I know he's coming back," Nunez said of Jeter, who could return from the disabled list Monday. "Play hard, and one time my moment is coming for playing every day. These two weeks is a big opportunity for me to show my manager, myself that I could play every day."

And he's come through. Nunez has played in all 16 games Jeter has been out with a calf strain. He is hitting .309 (17 for 55) with six RBIs in that period and the Yankees are 13-3.

"He's done a good job of just trying to be himself," manager Joe Girardi said. "I've been very pleased with the way he's played in Derek's absence."

Mark Teixeira hit a two-run double, and Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano added RBI doubles. Ivan Nova (8-4) and six relievers stifled a Mets' offense that scored 54 runs in their last five games, helping the Yankees win their season-high sixth straight game.

Jonathon Niese (7-7) was pitching for the first time since leaving his start June 25 with a rapid heartbeat. After giving up three runs in the first, he shut down the Yankees through six innings of one of the most anticipated Subway Series matchups in the past several years.

Girardi emphasized that to stop the Mets it was essential to keep speedy leadoff batter Reyes in check. Reyes, who A-Rod called pregame "the world's greatest player," did have his 42nd multihit game of the season but was tagged out in the seventh trying to advance to third on a flyout to center with one out and the score 3-1.

"If he's safe the momentum goes back in their favor," Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson said.
Nationals 2, Pirates 1


WASHINGTON -- The outcome was similar. The approach was different. The record is .500 once again. After a 2-1 ninth-inning victory in his Washington Nationals home managerial debut, Davey Johnson had only one thing left to do to make it a truly successful evening.

He had to find his way home.

"That'll be a celebration," he said after Friday's victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. "I think I go down K Street. How do I get to K Street?"

Negotiating the tricky one-way roads of the nation's capital might be a challenge, but Johnson needs no GPS when it comes to managing. Yes, in a way they were the same old woeful-hitting, decent-pitching Nationals, who now have played an incredible 11 games since June 1 in which is the final score has been 2-1, 2-0 or 1-0.

But a closer look at the box score shows some subtle differences under Johnson, who is 1-3 as interim manager since accepting the job following Jim Riggleman's abrupt resignation last week.

For one thing, he let Tom Gorzelanny pitch seven innings on a humid night. The left-hander, who had lost four straight starts, rewarded his manager's trust with by finishing strong, striking out the last two batters he faced.

"I told all the other starters they're going to be on a longer leash with me," Johnson said. "I'm expecting more out of them. I know all your guys were up there second-guessing me. ... I go the extra yard for them. I want them to know that. I want to give him an opportunity to win."

Instead, Gorzelanny became the latest Nationals starter to have a solid outing fail to make a positive dent in the won-loss record. He finished with eight strikeouts, yielding an unearned run and six hits. He became the second straight Washington starter to not allow an unearned run without getting the win -- Jordan Zimmermann took a 1-0 loss on Wednesday.

Johnson's other leap of faith was using Matt Stairs as a pinch hitter with the game tied in the ninth. The 43-year-old veteran has struggled at the plate all year, hitting just .132 entering the game. He was 4 for 32 with no RBIs as a pinch hitter.

Stairs delivered, driving an 0-1 pitch from Tim Wood (0-3) off the right-field wall to score pinch-runner Alex Cora.

"I have a lot of confidence in Matt. I wanted to get him going," Johnson said. "I think he can hit falling out of bed. That's the kind of situation that turns him on. One out, the winning run on third, he's the guy I'd like up there, even if he's hitting .080."

Rangers 15, Marlins 5


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Alexi Ogando kept insisting he felt fine and wasn't wearing out only halfway through the season for the Texas Rangers.

Maybe now everybody will believe him.

Ogando limited the Florida Marlins to two runs and five hits over 6 2-3 innings with a career-high eight strikeouts, ending the right-hander's personal three-game losing streak in the Rangers' 15-5 victory Friday night when Nelson Cruz homered and had six RBIs on his 31st birthday.

"Ogando never wavered from his confidence, and more than what we thought, it was about what he thought, and it's obvious he kept saying that he was OK," manager Ron Washington said. "Tonight, he went out there and he did it."

Ogando (8-3), a converted outfielder who had never been a starter before this season, hadn't pitched past the fifth inning in any of his previous three starts. He was 7-0 with a 2.10 ERA his first 12 starts before that.

"I never say that I'm tired, I never admitted that, never think that I'm tired. I always told you that I'm OK, that my arm is right and my energy is there," Ogando said through a translator. "I'm new starting games, been learning every outing."

He got plenty of help from the Rangers offense, which rebounded for a shutout loss in Houston the previous night to score a season-high 15 runs.

Texas got its first seven runs in 3 2-3 innings off Anibal Sanchez (6-2), who saw the end of his Marlins' season record of 14 consecutive starts without a loss.

"He's a better pitcher than that. You could see he wasn't in tune tonight," manager Jack McKeon said. "He doesn't generally walk anybody. He got behind guys, walked guys, nibbled with them and missed with his breaking ball. This is a hitting club over here. You can't mess around with them. And he killed himself, walking two leadoff guys. That's like a kiss of death really. They always score, I don't care where you're at."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts


Report: Sixers in California for NBA draft workouts

As the Western Conference Finals are taking place in Oakland, the Sixers are looking for new talent of their own in California.

This week, members of the Sixers' front office are attending pre-draft workouts organized through multiple agencies, including BDA Sports Management, CAA Sports, Landmark Sports Agency, Octagon and Wasserman Media Group.

While the Sixers hold the No. 1 pick, these workouts are opportunities for them to evaluate players that could be fits for their 24th and 26th selections.

On Thursday, the list of workout participants included projected first-rounders Deyonta Davis (Michigan State) and Cheik Diallo (Kansas), according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

The scouting process takes NBA teams coast to coast. Earlier this week, the Sixers reportedly attended a private workout with Excel Sports Management in New York City, in which Brandon Ingram and Jamal Murray participated.

The Sixers have held two workouts at their own practice facility, bringing in a total of 12 prospects thus far.

As the draft nears, 57 early-entry candidates withdrew their names from the 2016 draft.

NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination


NBA Playoffs: Stephen Curry, Warriors fight off elimination


OAKLAND, Calif. -- "We ain't going home! We're not going home!" Stephen Curry screamed at the top of his lungs.

No, his Golden State Warriors are going back to Oklahoma City, after keeping their title reign and the winningest season in NBA history alive for at least one more game.

Curry scored 31 points, raising his arms in the early moments to fire up Golden State's raucous crowd, and the defending champions staved off elimination with a 120-111 victory over the Thunder on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

"We just did what we're supposed to do. We're supposed to win at home," Curry said. "We know what we still have to do going forward. ... We knew if we didn't win we were going home. There's no other motivation you need."

For all the speculation about the current state of Curry's beat-up body -- that troublesome ankle, sore knee or tender elbow -- he did it all.

"I thought he looked like 91 percent," coach Steve Kerr cracked. "He came out and played a really good game. That's all I can tell you. He's going to compete every night. He had an excellent night and helped us get it done."

Led by Curry, the Warriors looked like their old winning selves again.

The MVP made a snazzy layup late and dished out six assists, while Klay Thompson added 27 points as Golden State sent the best the best-of-seven series back to Oklahoma City for Game 6 on Saturday night. The Warriors trail 3-2 and are trying to become just the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit.

"None of us want to go home," Thompson said. "We're having too much fun out there."

Kevin Durant scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook added 31 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals for the Thunder, trying for the fifth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history and first championship since moving from Seattle.

The record-setting, 73-win Warriors, coming off their first back-to-back defeats all season, had been blown out in two losses at Oklahoma City by a combined 52 points.

"We have to take that game and travel," Curry said of keeping momentum.

Durant's 3-pointer with 4:34 left got the Thunder within 103-98, then Curry answered with a three-point play.

Curry scored seven points in a 58-second stretch of the second quarter and hit more big shots late, but the Thunder didn't go away easily.

"I liked our will, I liked our fight," Kerr said. "We were embarrassed in OKC the last couple games."

Trailing 58-50 at halftime, Oklahoma City came out of the break with a 9-2 run. Westbrook's 3-pointer with 6:06 left in the third put Oklahoma City ahead 68-67 for its first lead of the night. But Golden State led 81-77 going into the fourth and began the final period with an 8-0 burst.

"We didn't shoot a particularly good percentage when we got into the lane and got into the deep paint," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "We had our opportunities."

Curry shot 9 for 20 and also had five steals, while Thompson had his 11th 20-point game for the second straight postseason despite shooting 2 for 9 from 3-point range. After struggling the past two games, Draymond Green had 11 points and 13 rebounds a day after receiving some encouraging words from Kobe Bryant on the phone.

"We really relied on the entire team tonight, which is when we're at our best," Curry said.

Kerr figured his Warriors might have an edge against the percentages of teams having trailed 3-1 because they're the defending champs and were playing at home, where they have been nearly unbeatable.

He wasn't surprised to see this team respond so well.

"We played with great desperation," Kerr said. "I knew how we would play. This is a championship team."

Kerr called for center Andrew Bogut to do more and the 7-footer delivered with a playoff career-high 15 points and 14 rebounds for his second double-double this postseason and seventh of his career.

Marreese Speights had a pair of three-point plays on follow shots and a 3 in the second quarter to give Golden State a nice lift off the bench. He had nine points in four minutes during that stretch and 14 points overall for his fifth double-digit scoring game this postseason.

"Their bench came in and made shots, made plays for them," Durant said. "We know we're going home. We can't relax."

Golden State made 31 of 34 free throws.

With his 1,248th career postseason point in the third, Curry passed Wilt Chamberlain (1,246) for second place on the franchise's playoff scoring list.

"That's who he is, that's what he's done, and that's what's made him a very good player," Donovan said.

Thunder: The franchise lost in the finals in 1977-78, 1995-96 to Kerr and the Chicago Bulls and in `12. ... Steven Adams sat down with his second foul at the 9:34 mark of the first quarter. The Thunder had seven fouls to Golden State's one after the first. ... Oklahoma City took Game 1 at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have lost only three times all season. ... The Thunder started the game 3 for 14.

Warriors: Green picked up his fifth technical of the postseason. He also has at least one steal in 16 straight playoff games. ... Golden State missed six of its first seven 3s. ... The Warriors supported Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager with "Sager Strong" T-shirts for sale to support awareness and research for leukemia and lymphoma, both blood cancers.

Best of MLB: Jose Fernandez strikes out 12 in Marlins' win over Rays


Best of MLB: Jose Fernandez strikes out 12 in Marlins' win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jose Fernandez struck out 12 in seven innings Thursday and won his sixth straight start for the Miami Marlins, a 9-1 decision over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Fernandez (7-2) struck out eight of the last 10 batters he faced and struck out every hitter in the Rays lineup at least once. The 23-year-old right-hander from Tampa gave up six hits in beating his hometown Rays for the first time in three tries. He finished the game with 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings, highest among major league starters.

Adeiny Hechavarria and Chris Johnson homered for the Marlins, who won three of four in their annual series against the Rays.

Hechavarria's third home run drove in the final two runs of a three-run second inning off Rays starter Drew Smyly. Johnson made it 5-0 with his second homer an inning later, Johnson's first hit in 22 interleague at bats (see full recap).

Rockies silence Red Sox, Bradley's hit streak
BOSTON -- Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story and Dustin Garneau hit two-run homers and the Colorado Rockies stopped Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 29-game hitting streak with a 8-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.

The win ended a three-game losing streak by Colorado and it ended a four-game winning streak for the Red Sox. Bradley's major league-best streak was halted when he went 0 for 4 after moving up to the leadoff spot for the first time this season.

Jon Gray (2-2) gave up a two-run home run to David Ortiz in the first, but pitched six scoreless innings before leaving in the eighth.

Clay Buchholz (2-5) took the loss. He pitched three perfect innings before things came apart in the fourth, when he gave up Gonzalez's homer with the other two coming the following inning (see full recap).

Happ leads Blue Jays past Yankees
NEW YORK -- J.A. Happ pitched seven strong innings, Edwin Encarnacion and Devon Travis had two-out RBIs, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees 3-1 on Thursday to win the three-game series.

CC Sabathia was the tough-luck loser for New York, allowing just two unearned runs. Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his first game since going on the disabled list May 4 with a strained right hamstring.

Happ (6-2) allowed one run on three hits in seven innings with five strikeouts and three walks. He has given up three earned runs or fewer in 19 of his last 20 starts.

Sabathia (3-3) retired the first seven batters before an error by shortstop Didi Gregorius on Travis' grounder with one out in the third (see full recap).