Pow-Pow-Power Phils Win in the Desert

Pow-Pow-Power Phils Win in the Desert

Obscured in the Phillies loss to start their series in Arizona was a five-run ninth inning. After going scoreless for the first eight innings, the bats came out to hang some garbage runs when most east coasters had switched off the set.   
On Tuesday night, they picked up where that ninth left off, breaking a scoreless tie in the fourth with an injection of power we've rarely seen in 2012. Hunter Pence was a surprise addition to the lineup after missing Tuesday's game with a shoulder issue and undergoing an MRI earlier in the day, but he looked fine in the fourth, when he knocked one out to right with Jimmy Rollins was on base.
After a Ty Wigginton double, Laynce Nix crushed one over the right field wall, and the Phils had a 4-0 lead. But the gun show wasn't over just yet. 
In the seventh, Nix singled to start the inning and was moved over to second on a single by Brian Schneider, who was back in the battery with Vance Worley. After Polly sac'd them both up a base, Juan Pierre appeared to fly out to left, but a great sliding catch by Jason Kubel was ruled by second base ump Angel Hernandez to have fallen in. 
With the bases loaded, Pete Orr (star of yesterday's recap) smacked a triple to right, plating all three baserunners to give the Phils a 7-1 lead. 
Vance Worley's night was done, which was a great thing for the Diamondbacks. He'd been freezing them through six frames, striking out six—all looking. Worley allowed just one run on a homer by Cody Effing Ransom in the fifth. 
Jose Contreras took over in the seventh, and it wasn't pretty. The D'backs pulled three doubles in a row, then added a sac to bring the score to 7-4. Antonio Bastardo came in to induce the final out.
A familiar face was on the mound for Arizona in the eighth, when Mike Zagurski relieved Bryan Shaw. Shane Victorino must not have been feeling much sentimentality, capping Zagurski with a homer to lead off the inning. That's Vic's second straight game with a long ball and his fourth of the season to uhhh lead the team... 
Chad Qualls was touched for the very first time in the eighth, when he allowed a solo homer to Kubel before striking out three in a row, all swinging. 
Jon Papelbon earned the save (do people still say that?) with a perfect ninth, closing out an 8-5 Phillies win. 
I don't think anyone's calling the Phillies' offensive woes a thing of the past, but the game was something of a relief. No, Josh Collmenter is not Matt Cain, but there are more than enough Collmenters in the league, and this is what the Phils need to do when they're on the hill. 
Vancehall ReggaeGotta love another great start from Worley, who won his second straight, again keeping his walks and hits to the same number of innings he pitched. Hard to ask for much more than that. There were concerns coming into the season that hitters had figured him out toward the end of last season, sitting on his out-pitch. But we're still seeing the cold stare of opposing hitters who just got rung up looking, and Worley's ERA is a tidy 2.16. Nice to see the walks limited to just one, too. MOM! I WANT THE TRUUUUUCK!

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat 114-84
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks 114-110
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

DETROIT -- Brandon Dubinsky scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the surging Columbus Blue Jackets won their fifth straight game, 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Lukas Sedlak got his first NHL goal for the Blue Jackets, who have earned at least a point in 12 of their last 13 games. Cam Atkinson contributed a short-handed goal in the first period for Columbus.

Dylan Larkin's power-play goal in the second was the only scoring of the night for the Red Wings. Sergei Bobrovsky had 32 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Sam Gagner scored into an empty net with 13.9 seconds remaining (see full story). 

Staal scores in 6th round of SO to lift Wild over Oilers
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored in the sixth round of a shootout and the Minnesota Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday night.

Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker scored in regulation for Minnesota, which has won three straight.

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves. He entered with a league-best .946 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against average.

Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had goals for the Oilers, whose four-game losing streak began with a 2-1 home overtime loss to the Wild last Sunday.

Staal scored on a backhand deke before Nugent-Hopkins fired wide in the sixth round (see full story). 

Raanta, Rangers beat Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime
CHICAGO -- Nick Holden scored 55 seconds into overtime, Antti Raanta made 26 saves against his former team and the New York Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Friday night.

Derek Stepan passed from the boards to a streaking Holden in the middle of the ice, and he beat Scott Darling on the stick side for his fourth goal of the season.

Darling was going for his second straight shutout while subbing for injured starter Corey Crawford but had to settle for another solid performance.

Raanta, who made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2013 and played for the Blackhawks for two seasons before he was traded to New York, improved to 15-0-3 in 20 career appearances at the United Center.

The 27-year-old Raanta had 17 saves in Thursday's 2-1 victory at Winnipeg, and coach Alain Vigneault opted to give him a second straight start over Henrik Lundqvist because of his recent play and his success in Chicago (see full story).

Oshie, Johansson, Grubauer lift Caps over Sabres 4-1
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson each scored a goal, Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Jakub Vrana and John Carlson also scored, helping Washington beat Buffalo for the third time in 15 days.

Kyle Okposo scored and Robin Lehner made 25 saves for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost three of their last four.

Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 6:43 into the second period when he lifted a shot from the right edge of the crease past Lehner. Jay Beagle drew two defenders into the corner and sent the puck back to a wide open Oshie for his ninth goal of the season (see full story).