Rasmussen wins TD Bank Int'l in frantic finish

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Rasmussen wins TD Bank Int'l in frantic finish

Sunday, June 5, 2011
Posted: 10:47 p.m.

By Brian Kotloff
For CSNPhilly.com

To the naked eye, a blitz of 11 bikers had zipped across the finish line at 22nd street and Ben Franklin Parkway, legs churning and wheels motoring, all in one blur.

The crowd on each side of the road had roared then quieted, their cowbells silenced as judges of the TD Bank International Cycling Championship turned to video to confirm the victor.

I think I won, Dane Alex Rasmussen, 26, said between breaths, mere minutes after he had raised his arms while crossing the finish line. I know I won.

By a helmets length, he was right.

Rasmussen emerged from a field of 180 riders to capture the 27th installment of the Philadelphia race for the HTC-Highroad cycling team, completing the 156 mile course in five hours, 59 minutes and four seconds.

Eleven of his competitors recorded the same time, with Slovakian Peter Sagan, 21, of team Liquigas-Cannondale repeating as the runner-up and 33-year-old German Robert Forster of team UnitedHealthCare taking third.

HTC-Highroad, the two-time defending champion, bided its time all afternoon, preparing for the final sprint even as other riders attempted to surge ahead of the main pack on several occasions. Over the final 30 minutes, three leaders -- Andres Diaz of Team Exergy, Bruno Langlois of Team Spidertech and Francisco Mancebo of Realcyclist.com -- tried to hold off the pack, with their lead gradually shrinking from minutes to seconds.

With a few miles to go, HTC-Highroad positioned itself to lead one sprinter to the finish line -- not Rasmussen but Australias Leigh Howard. When Howard experienced gear problems, Rasmussen stepped up, avoiding a 10-man crash on the final turn, drafting to the head of the pack.

It was a big mess at the end, said Rasmussen, a four-time track world champion. It was not exactly what we planned, but it turned out good.

No, the team had certainly not planned on losing three of its eight members in an accident at last months Tour of Italy. Undermanned with five riders, they still prevailed for the third straight year.

We knew it was going to be a difficult task but we had five motivated guys and we got the race under controlgot some help from some other teams and actually came together for the final, HTC-Highroad director Allan Peiper said. So actually, it was the perfect scenario.

The photo finish highlighted another brilliant day that brought locals in droves from the Parkway to the famous Manayunk Wall. While the Parkway showcased some of the worlds top riders at their peak -- Italian Giorgia Bronzini won the Liberty Classic, the 57-mile womens race -- the fans once again ruled in Manayunk.

The festivities extended up the Wall on Lyceum Avenue and down the descent that begins on Pechin Street. Locals lined the course, cheering and chanting, ringing cowbells and sounding vuvuzelas.

People look forward to this race, Mayor Michael Nutter said afterward. Actually, its kind of funny, people start asking about the bike race in the winter when its cold and snowy.

Its an incredible experience.

In Manayunk, many gathered in the surrounding houses and backyards for parties. Others, like Flourtown resident Scott Schmidt, 51, and Lou Gilmore, 70, of Blue Bell, who have attended each of the past five years, took in the whole experience.

We start down at where Ridge Ave. and Main St. come together, ride downtown to the finish line, get a hamburger and then ride all the way down here, Gilmore said.

Here, at the Wall, the world is turned on its side -- a 17 percent grade incline, to be exact -- as the race slows to a cruel, shaky climb. If the Parkway displays the remarkable technique and fitness of the riders, the Wall displays their fortitude.

On this day, it most notably claimed Frank Pipp on the final lap, about 5 hours and 20 minutes after Nutter fired the opening shot. Pipp had kept pace with Diaz, Langlois and Mancebo, the trio of breakaway racers, but feebly wobbled to a halt on his tenth ascent.

Rasmussen, in contrast, embraced the grind of the races signature obstacle.

I like the wall. Its not too hard for me, he said. I can get over it so its a good course for me.

Instant Replay: Cubs 7, Phillies 2

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USA Today Images

Instant Replay: Cubs 7, Phillies 2

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO – The Phillies completed a dreadful road trip with a 7-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sunday afternoon.
 
The Cubs swept the three-game series by a combined score of 17-5.
 
The Phils were 1-5 on the trip. They lost two of three in Detroit to start the trip.
 
The Cubs tagged Phillies starter Vince Velasquez for seven runs in 4 ⅔ innings Sunday.
 
The Cubs belted six homers in the three games. The Phillies had two and they both came late in Sunday's game after they were down, 7-0.
 
The Cubs have the majors’ best record at 34-14.
 
The Phillies have been held to two or fewer runs 19 times this season. They head home with a record of 26-24.
 
Starting pitching report
Velasquez was tagged for nine hits and seven runs in 4 ⅔ innings. He gave up two homers, a solo shot in the second and a three-run blow in the third.
 
Velasquez did not have a good trip. Against two of the toughest lineups in baseball, he pitched 8 ⅔ innings over two starts. He gave up 18 hits, five of which were homers, and 10 earned runs.
 
The righthander is 5-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 10 starts.
 
Cubs’ right-hander John Lackey gave up just four hits and one run in seven innings.
 
Cubs starting pitching held the Phils to three earned runs in 22 ⅓ innings in the series. And Jake Arrieta did not pitch.
 
Bullpen report
Brett Oberholtzer walked three in 1 ⅓ innings, but did not allow a run. 
 
At the plate
Tyler Goeddel homered for the Phillies’ first run. Tommy Joseph homered in the ninth.
 
The Phillies were out-hit, 10-6. They had just six extra-base hits in the series. The Cubs had 11.
 
The Cubs used three hits, none of which were hit particularly hard, to score a run in the first inning. Miguel Montero crushed a 2-0 fastball from Velasquez over the wall in right to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead in the second and Ben Zobrist made it a 5-0 game with a three-run shot off Velasquez in the third.
 
In the field
A day after manager Pete Mackanin praised him for his defense, shortstop Freddy Galvis had a tough day in the field.
 
His 44-game errorless streak ended in the fifth inning when made just his second error of the season.
 
Two innings earlier, with two outs in the third, Galvis failed to make a play on a scorching one-hopper by Kris Bryant. The play was scored a hit because it was hit so hard, but Galvis had made plays like that before. The play proved pivotal because it extended the inning. Velasquez then issued a two-out walk, setting the table for Zobrist’s three-run homer, which gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead.
 
Joseph started at first base as manager Pete Mackanin sat Ryan Howard for the second time in a week against a right-hander pitcher. Joseph made a nice defensive play with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning.
 
Health check
Cody Asche’s minor-league rehab stint ends Wednesday. The team can bring him to the majors at any time or option him to the minors when the rehab stint ends.
 
Up next
The Phillies return home Monday to start a 10-game homestand that includes visits from the Nationals, Brewers and Cubs. Here are the pitching matchups for the series against the Nats:
 
Monday night – RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.97) vs. RHP Tanner Roark (3-4, 2.71)
 
Tuesday night – RHP Aaron Nola (4-3, 2.86) vs. RHP Joe Ross (4-4, 2.52)
 
Wednesday night – LHP Adam Morgan (1-3, 6.67) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (5-4, 4.05)

NBA draft profile: Providence PG Kris Dunn

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NBA draft profile: Providence PG Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn

Position: Point guard

Height: 6-4

Weight: 205

School: Providence

Point guards are coveted on NBA rosters, and a team could land a long-term solution with Dunn. Last season, he averaged 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2.5 steals in 33.0 minutes per game. The Sixers met with Dunn at the draft combine and plan to work him out as well. In order for the Sixers, who hold the first, 24th and 26th picks, to acquire Dunn, they would have to make a trade to move up in the selection order. 

Strengths
Dunn brings a physical presence to the one spot. At 6-foot-4, he has a 6-9 wingspan and can create size mismatches at the point guard position. Dunn is athletic with strong leaping abilities, which allows him to move well without the ball to the basket and attack the rim as well. While Dunn can score (16.4 points per game), he also averaged 2.5 steals per game this season.

Beyond the numbers, he has immeasurable mental strength and focus after overcoming obstacles to reach the highest level of basketball.

“You’re going to get someone who works hard every day,” Dunn said at the combine. “I like to say I’m a blue collar worker. Nothing was ever given to me and I go after it with everything I have.”

Weaknesses
As an NBA point guard, Dunn has to be disciplined running the floor. At times in college he went for the highlight play over fundamentals, resulting in turnovers (3.5 per game). He will have to improve shot selection in the pros. Dunn took 21 more field goal attempts from his junior to senior season but actually made one less year to year. He also shot 69.5 percent at the line. 

How he'd fit with the Sixers
The Sixers had a revolving door at the point guard position this season. They didn’t have a consistent starter until late December when they traded to re-acquire Ish Smith, who is a free agent this summer. Dunn could be their point guard for the future. 

NBA comparison
Dunn has been compared to Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall. At the combine, Dunn said he liked that comparison because of Wall’s defensive skillset.

Draft projection
Dunn is projected to be drafted as high as in the top five. He could be selected lower, though, given teams close to the top already have point guards.

MLB Notes: Sore left foot sidelines Red Sox's David Ortiz against Blue Jays

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MLB Notes: Sore left foot sidelines Red Sox's David Ortiz against Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has been scratched from the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Blue Jays with a sore left foot.

He is day to day.

Ortiz, who leads the major leagues with 46 RBIs, 23 doubles, and 121 total bases, was hit on the foot by a pitch in the fifth inning of Saturday's 10-9 loss. Ortiz struck out on the play.

Hanley Ramirez moved from first base to DH, Travis Shaw moved from third to first and Josh Rutledge replaced Shaw at third.

Ortiz is batting .339 with 13 home runs. He has announced his intention to retire at the end of the season.

Yankees: Beltran misses Rays game with shoulder tightness
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- New York Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran is out of the starting lineup Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays because of right shoulder tightness but says he is available off the bench.

Beltran was hurt Saturday on a checked swing.

He said Sunday: "A little sore, but I'm good. I saw the doctor yesterday and he said that it should go away in a couple days, so I'm not worried."

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira didn't start for the fifth consecutive game because of neck stiffness but said he "felt pretty good" after resuming batting practice and taking grounders.

Teixeira had a cortisone shot Thursday. He said that made a "night and day difference."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi is hopeful that Teixeira can start Monday night's game at Toronto.

Royals: C Salvador Perez out 7-10 days
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez is expected to be out 7 to 10 days with a bruised left thigh after colliding with rookie third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert while catching a foul pop up in the ninth inning Saturday.

Perez had a MRI on Saturday night, which confirmed the injury was a contusion with no structural damage.

"Hopefully it's not going to require a trip to the DL," Royals manager Ned Yost said Sunday. "We're hoping he'll be back in 7 to 10 days. It could be earlier or later. We'll just have to wait and see and just manage it day to day.

"Great news, you don't want to have to put him on the DL and he's ready to play in eight days and has to sit there for another week."

The Royals recalled catcher Tony Cruz from Triple-A Omaha, where he was hitting .278 with three home runs and 20 RBIs in 31 games. Cruz has a .220 average in 229 games with St. Louis the past five years (see full story).

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