NL East wrap: Marlins inch closer to Phils with win

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NL East wrap: Marlins inch closer to Phils with win

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Posted: 12:50 a.m. Updated: 1:30 a.m.

The Associated Press

Marlins 5, Giants 1

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ricky Nolasco pitched scoreless ball into the ninth inning and the Florida Marlins quieted the streaking San Francisco Giants with a 5-1 victory Tuesday night.

Gaby Sanchez had a three-run double and Mike Stanton hit his 11th home run of the season to help the Marlins snap the defending World Series champions' nine-game home winning streak. San Francisco had won five straight overall to move into first place in the NL West.

Omar Infante had three singles and Sanchez finished with three hits to chase Giants starter Matt Cain (3-3) after six innings. Florida has won three of its last four games.

Nolasco (4-0) loaded the bases with one out in the ninth before Leo Nunez entered to get his major league-best 18th save this season. Nolasco struck out five and was charged with one run on seven hits.

The Marlins didn't waste a chance to shine out West.

They were patient against Cain as he struggled with his command early, giving up four runs on six hits. He struck out four but tied his season high with three walks, and the Marlins took advantage of all the free passes.

Cain walked Hanley Ramirez and Logan Morrison with two outs in the third to load the bases. Sanchez followed with a bases-clearing double to right-center, giving Florida a 3-0 lead.

Stanton sent the first pitch of the fourth inning just over the center-field wall to put the Marlins ahead 4-0. Andres Torres seemed to be in position to make the catch, reaching up to snatch the ball only to have his glove hit the padding. Torres watched as the ball barely sailed over the 399-foot sign on the wall.

That was more than enough support for Nolasco.
Braves 2, Pirates 0
BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH -- Charlie Morton remembers watching Jair Jurrjens pitch while the two were teammates in Atlanta and marveling at Jurrjens' stuff.

"He was just dealing when I was there and I was just getting by," Morton said with a laugh.

A few years later, Jurrjens still has the upperhand.

The 25-year-old right-hander continued his sparkling spring, pitching six-hit ball into the eighth inning to lead the Braves to a 2-0 win over Morton and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Jurrjens (6-1) struck out four and walked one in 7 2-3 innings while dropping his ERA to 1.56. Craig Kimbrel worked a perfect ninth for his 13th save.

"I'm just trying to throw strikes," Jurrjens said. "It's not easy coming from a day off trying to pitch and the position players over there also had a day off, so you're trying to take advantage of that and just throw strikes and make them get themselves out."

The Pirates were only too happy to oblige. Pittsburgh never got a runner to third base while extending its scoreless streak to 19 innings.

Alex Gonzalez had three hits and scored a run for the Braves, who scratched out just enough offense to end Morton's three-game winning streak.

Morton (5-2) continued his bounceback year, giving up seven hits while striking out four and walking three in seven-plus innings.

Yet he couldn't quite match Jurrjens, who has been electric through the season's first two months. He had little trouble with the punchless Pirates, needing just 97 pitches -- 71 strikes -- to send Pittsburgh to its second straight shutout loss.

Cubs 11, Mets 1

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- Ryan Dempster is once again one of the favorites at Wrigley Field.

Dempster pitched seven effective innings, Starlin Castro had three hits and two RBIs and the Chicago Cubs pounded the stumbling New York Mets 11-1 on Tuesday night.

Alfonso Soriano, Darwin Barney and Lou Montanez each had two hits for Chicago, which kicked off a nine-game homestand with its 11th victory in its past 12 games against NL East teams.

Montanez started in right field hours after he was promoted from Triple-A Iowa when the Cubs put right-hander Matt Garza on the 15-day disabled list with elbow stiffness.

"It's a relief. You want to do something positive right from the get-go so you calm down a little bit," Montanez said. "Surprisingly I was pretty calm, which also surprised me. I thought I was gonna be a little more antsy, but I was a little reserved."

Dempster (3-4) allowed one run and seven hits, improving to 10-5 in 26 career appearances against the Mets. He struck out five and walked one.

He has won his past two home starts after dropping six consecutive decisions over seven starts dating to last season.

"It was just nice for us," he said. "We scored some runs, we took advantage of a big error there, scored a bunch, like four runs after that. A good victory for us."

The Mets dropped their first game since a pair of magazine articles about owner Fred Wilpon raised questions about the state of the franchise. Wilpon first made a couple of chilly comments about three of the team's biggest stars in an interview with The New Yorker, then told Sports Illustrated the club is "bleeding cash" and could lose up to 70 million this year.

"We're going to move on. Just chalk it up as a game we didn't play very good," manager Terry Collins said. "We didn't catch the ball as well as we can. We didn't pitch as well as we can."

Brewers 7, Nationals 6

BOX SCORE

MILWAUKEE -- Jonathan Lucroy says he will never be able to hit like Ryan Braun. With Braun long gone after being ejected, Lucroy's bat was all the Brewers needed.

The second-year catcher hit a two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning and Brandon Boggs collided into catcher Wilson Ramos to score the go-ahead run, rallying Milwaukee over the Washington Nationals 7-6 on Tuesday night.

"I'm never going to be a Ryan Braun or anybody like that, but I feel like I compete a lot better in the box than I did last year," Lucroy said. "I'm really trying to do that this year."

Milwaukee has won 12 of its last 15 overall and has its longest winning streak in the 11-year history of Miller Park at eight games, though this one certainly didn't come easily.

"It was a game it didn't look like we should've won, but we just continued to fight, continued to play hard," said Braun, tossed in the third for arguing a play at first. "Everybody's contributing. When you do that, you're going to win a lot of games."

Corey Hart homered again a night after smacking three, Lucroy hit another and Rickie Weeks added a two-run shot in the seventh to set up Lucroy's big hit.

"I don't see many second-year guys doing what he's doing," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I think he's relaxed and confident offensively, and I think that's why he's doing so well."

Lucroy singled down the right-field line in the eighth, and while the throw home came in plenty of time, the ball deflected off Ramos' glove just before Boggs barreled into him and across the plate.

"I saw he dropped it a couple of steps before I got to him. I kind of eased up a little bit," Boggs said. "I didn't lower the shoulder, so we're good."

Brewers reliever Mike McClendon (2-0) picked up the win with two scoreless innings and John Axford converted his 10th straight save to give him 13 for the season after another shaky outing when it appeared he had struck out the side.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

NL East Wrap: Mets SP Matt Harvey gets back on track in win over White Sox

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USA Today Images

NL East Wrap: Mets SP Matt Harvey gets back on track in win over White Sox

NEW YORK -- On the mound in the seventh inning for the first time this season, Matt Harvey gave up his first walk of the game and his second hit, leading to a sacrifice bunt and a second-and-third jam.

"You kind of think about the worst at that point," he said. "You start getting some negative thoughts that creep in your head."

But 11 days after disappointed fans at Citi Field booed him like a villain, the Dark Knight was back - at least for one afternoon.

Harvey retired Todd Frazier on a foulout and J.B. Shuck on a grounder to escape trouble, Neil Walker homered off Jose Quintana on the second pitch of the bottom half and the New York Mets beat Chicago 1-0 Monday to send the reeling White Sox to their seventh straight loss.

"Today's a big first step," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia got six straight outs to complete the two-hitter, preserving Harvey's first win since May 8. Harvey struck out six, walked two and threw four pitches of 98-98.5 mph after not topping 97.5 mph previously this season. He threw 61 of 87 pitches for strikes (see full recap).

Mallex Smith's 3-run triple powers Braves past Giants
ATLANTA -- Mike Foltynewicz is showing he can be more than just a fastball pitcher - and that he can be part of the Braves' long-term rotation.

Foltynewicz continued his recent upswing by allowing only three hits and one run in six-plus innings, Mallex Smith hit a three-run triple and Atlanta beat Jeff Samardzija and the San Francisco Giants 5-3 on Monday.

The Braves survived San Francisco's two-run, ninth-inning rally. They have won three of four and are 5-21 at home, still easily the worst in the majors.

Foltynewicz (2-2) gave up a leadoff homer to Brandon Belt in the second inning, but allowed only one other runner to advance to second.

Foltynewicz, 24, has had other recent strong starts, including eight scoreless innings in a 5-0 win at Kansas City on May 14. His start on Monday may have been his most impressive demonstration of altering the speeds of his fastball while mixing in a curveball and slider (see full recap).

Locke tosses three-hit shutout against Marlins
MIAMI -- Jeff Locke tossed a three-hitter and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Miami Marlins 10-0 on Monday night.

Gregory Polanco's grand slam, Sean Rodriguez's two-run homer, and David Freese's four hits helped power the offense for the Pirates, who won the first of a four-game series in Miami. The first two games were originally scheduled to be played in Puerto Rico, but were moved due to concerns of the Zika virus.

Locke (4-3) struck out one and did not walk a batter while throwing 67 of 105 pitches for strikes. It was his first complete game in 101 career starts. Locke retired 19 straight at one point and needed just six pitches to get through the seventh inning.

The announced crowd of 10,856 was a season-low for the Marlins, who entered the day averaging just under 20,000.

Gary Bettman talks NHL expansion, missing Ed Snider's presence, 2018 Winter Olympics

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Gary Bettman talks NHL expansion, missing Ed Snider's presence, 2018 Winter Olympics

PITTSBURGH -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman offered no clues on Monday during his annual Stanley Cup Final address as to the state of NHL expansion or the current odds that Las Vegas gets a franchise.
 
The league’s Board of Governors will meet on June 22 to make a decision on expansion. The earliest a team(s) could play would be 2017-18.
 
Quebec City is also in the running, but the value of the Canadian dollars weighs heavily against another team being added north of the border at the moment.
 
If a Vegas franchise is added, it would have a direct impact on Pacific Division clubs such as the Sharks, who take on the Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final Monday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
 
Bettman refused to “handicap” the situation but said he expected to know at least a week in advance as to what the committee’s recommendation will be.
 
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said there are “a lot of on-going” issues related to expansion and some involve input from third parties.
 
“We’ve made good progress ... it hasn’t been quick progress,” Daly said.
 
Asked about rumors of the NFL, specifically the Oakland Raiders, going to Vegas and what that impact would mean to hockey, Bettman said he hasn’t even broached the topic of having two pro sports there with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or even considered such.
 
“If the NFL comes to Vegas at some point, so be it,” Bettman said. “We’re judging the application we have before us on the merits of that application.”
 
Bettman said the thought the NFL moving to Vegas, in his opinion, wasn’t “anywhere close to a done deal.”
 
Daly added that even if there is movement by the NFL toward Vegas, it would not be seen as a “deterrent” to the NHL expanding there.
 
Snider not replaced
Bettman said that former Flyers chairman Ed Snider’s spot on the 10-person executive and competition committees has not been filled since Snider's death in April.
 
Snider was an original member of the league’s competition committee and the only owner on it.
 
“He was a great owner and is terribly missed,” Bettman said.

More Olympic issues  
IOC President Thomas Bach and IIHF President Rene Fasel have gone on record they want to end paying the out-of-pocket expenses for NHL players to attend the Olympics.
 
That’s a non-starter for the NHL if both organizations want participation of the NHL's players at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. The practice of subsidy has been in effect for the past five Winter Olympics.
 
“If they are unable to resolve the issue, I have no doubt it will have an impact on our decision,” Bettman said, adding the NHL would have to take a hard look at continued Olympic participation since its member clubs aren’t interested in putting up the “many, many millions” it would take to make up the financial gap.
 
Whenever there is change in the IOC leadership, Bettman said, there are always discussions of whether some sports, such as hockey, should receive subsidies.