Crawford leads Clippers to 10th straight win

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Crawford leads Clippers to 10th straight win

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) The Los Angeles Clippers are learning to adapt.

Playing their fourth road game in seven nights, they could have easily been overrun by the often overlooked Detroit Pistons.

Not this club.

Jamal Crawford scored 15 points and Chris Paul added 14 to lead the weary Clippers to their 10th straight win, 88-76 over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.

``We didn't shoot very well, and we didn't do a lot of things we wanted to do,'' said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. ``We just had a lot of guys make plays down the stretch and we get to go home with another win. Early in the season, we probably lose that game, but now we've gotten to the point where we can win ugly.''

No Clippers player scored more than 15 points, but they had five players score in double figures.

``This was a tough one, because we've been playing every other night and we're ready to go home,'' said Detroit native Willie Green. ``This was a great test for us, and we passed it.''

Blake Griffin also had 15 points for Los Angeles and Paul had seven assists. Griffin had two breakaway dunks in the last 30 seconds, one on a pass banked off the backboard by Matt Barnes.

``When I saw that it was just the two of us, I told him to keep coming,'' Barnes joked. ``I figured a lot more people wanted to see Blake dunk than wanted to see me lay one in.''

Brandon Knight led the Pistons with 16 and Tayshaun Prince added 15. Detroit, which committed 17 turnovers, lost its fifth straight.

``We did enough defensive things to win the game, but when you are going against a team that strips and steals the ball and is very aggressive, everything has to be sharp,'' said Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. ``We have to be more precise, and in the last six minutes, you know it is going to be harder against a team like that, but we have to be able to do it.''

Both teams struggled in the first half, with the Clippers taking a 42-40 lead into the intermission despite shooting just 39 percent. Detroit hit 42.5 percent of its shots, but managed only one free throw and two offensive rebounds. The Clippers tried for the last shot of the half, but Prince stole the ball and two quick passes gave Greg Monroe a wide-open layup at the buzzer.

Los Angeles got things in gear in the third quarter, quickly taking a 12-point advantage, but Griffin went to the bench with four fouls and Detroit was able to work its way back into the game.

The Pistons were within 63-60 at quarter's end behind 13 points from Prince, but couldn't keep up the pressure.

``We played a good first half, but once we turned it over a couple times in the third, we let them get out and do their thing,'' Prince said. ``We didn't execute in the second half, and that's when you need it the most.''

Detroit committed three turnovers in a period of four possessions and Jason Maxiell missed a pair of free throws on the fourth, allowing Los Angeles to take an 11-point advantage with 6:45 to play. Brandon Knight also missed a technical-foul free throw in the stretch.

``We weren't hitting a lot of shots, but we trusted our defense to make plays,'' Barnes said. ``That was the way we finally won the game.''

The Pistons kept up the pressure, pulling down four offensive rebounds on one possession in the last 90 seconds, but couldn't hit enough shots to make a serious rally.

``They turned on that playoff mentality, stepped up their defense and kind of shut us down,'' said rookie Andre Drummond. ``The fourth quarter has been an issue all year. We aren't closing games out.''

NOTES: Former Pistons All-Stars Chauncey Billups (foot) and Grant Hill (knee) were both inactive for the Clippers, while Rodney Stuckey (back spasms) missed the game for Detroit. Billups, the MVP of Detroit's championship win in 2004, received a loud ``Chaun-Cey!'' chant from the crowd during a fourth-quarter timeout. ... Several members of the University of Michigan football team attended the game, including team captains Denard Robinson and Jordan Kovacs. Robinson, who hasn't thrown a pass since late October due to an elbow injury, tossed a Nerf football to the Pistons mascot during a timeout.

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Redskins use fantastic second quarter to beat Bills, 21-16

Redskins use fantastic second quarter to beat Bills, 21-16

The Redskins’ starting offense, playing as a unit for the first rime this preseason, got off to a slow start but Kirk Cousins and company got rolling in the second quarter and posted 21 points. It was enough for the Redskins to outlast the Bills and leave FedEx Field with a 21-16 win in preseason game No. 3.

Buffalo had a chance to take the lead late but an apparent touchdown pass was negated by a pass interference call and Kendall Fuller interception a final, desperation pass.   

In the first quarter, Cousins completed three of nine passes for 17 yards with an interception. That added up to a passer rating of 2.8. To be fair, Cousins was victimized by a number of drops by his receivers.

But he got rolling in the second quarter, throwing touchdown passes to Jordan Reed, Ryan Grant, and Pierre Garçon. By the time the half was over he was 12 for 23 for 188 yards and had a passer rating of 101.3.

Rookie running back Robert Kelley may have locked up a roster spot with a strong performance. He had some tough yards, blocked well, and gained 51 yards on 12 carries in just over a half of work.

The starting defense was solid throughout although Bills starting QB Tyrod Taylor played just two series and completed five passes.

One goal in the preseason is to get out without injury concerns and the Redskins didn’t fare well in that department, although no injuries appear to be serious. The worst appears to be rookie running back Keith Marshall’s sprained elbow. He was supposed to compete with Kelley for carries but he went out after just one carry.

RELATED: RECAP OF KIRK COUSINS' NIGHT

Injury Updates:

Ryan Kerrigan left the game with a groin injury in the first quarter. He did not return.

RB Keith Marshall left the game in the first quarter to get X-rays on his left elbow. Was ruled out with elbow sprain.

OT Morgan Moses left the game in the second quarter with an a left ankle injury. He did not return.

CB Quinton Dunbar left in the second quarter to get his left shin X-rayed. He did not return.  

C Spencer Long left in the third quarter with a sprained ankle and did not return.

Scoring drives:

First quarter

FG Carpenter 28

Drive: 6 plays, 21 yards, 2:50

Drive summary: The Bills got a short field after Kirk Cousins looked left and then threw to the right. Corey White made the interception from his back after the ball was tipped. A Tyrod Taylor pass to tight end Jim Dray got a first down at the 25 but they couldn’t keep the drive going and Dan Carpenter came in a booted the field goal.

Bills 3, Redskins 0        

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Second quarter

FG Carpenter 52

Drive: 8 plays, 50 yards, 3:56

Drive summary: The Bills got a scoring drive going with E.J. Manuel at quarterback. He got things going on the first play with a 21-yard completion to Chris Gragg. An roughness penalty on DeAngelo Hall turned a third and long into a first and 10 in Redskins territory. Dan Herron ran around right end for 12 yards, getting the Bills into position for the Carpenter field goal.

Bills 6, Redskins 0        

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Grant 38 yard pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 4 plays, 70 yards, 2:39

Drive summary: The Redskins put together a quick drive to take the lead. First Cousins threw a short pass to DeSean Jackson, who zigged and zagged his way down the field for 39 yards to the Buffalo 34. A couple of plays later Cousins threw to Ryan Grant a benefitted from some more YAC as the receiver spun away from a would-be tackler and dashed to the end zone.

Redskins 7, Bills 6        

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Reed 20 yard pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 9 plays, 69 yards, 4:21

Drive summary: The Redskins got some help in the form of Buffalo penalties in the course of this scoring drive. A defensive holding call negated an interception and a third-down sack turned into a first down when the Bills were called for roughing the passer. The Redskins earned some yards when Cousins threw to Pierre Garçon, who dodged a tackler and scampered 15 yards for a first down. A few plays later Cousins threw to Reed, who had gotten past the defense and easily made it across the goal line.

Redskins 14, Bills 6      

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Garçon 9 yard pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 5 plays, 40 yards, 0:48

Drive summary: The Bills were trying to get a two-minute drill going but after a completion Will Blackmon stripped TE Nick O’Leary and Greg Toler made the recovery at the Buffalo 40. They got close on a 22-yard connection between Cousins and Vernon Davis. Then on third and goal at the nine Cousins threw a nice fade to Garçon, who got both feet in in the left corner of the end zone.

Redskins 21, Bills 6      

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FG Carpenter 52

Drive: 5 plays 41 yards, 0:29

Drive Summary: The Bills got that two-minute drive on their second try. Manuel scrambled for 18 yards and then Manuel threw to Boom Herron for 18 to the Washington 34. Then Carpenter booted the long field goal to let the Bills steal some points with two seconds left in the half.

Redskins 21, Bills 9

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Third quarter

Williams 37 yard run (Carpenter kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 46 yards, 1:19

Drive summary: This was a quick one for the Bills thanks to a 36-yard punt return by Walter Powell. Three plays later Jonathan Williams went up the middle on third and one, broke some tackles, and dashed in for the score.

Redskins 21, Bills 16   

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Fourth quarter

No scoring

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Nats ride Gonzalez, bats to 8-5 victory over the Rockies

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USA TODAY Sports

Nats ride Gonzalez, bats to 8-5 victory over the Rockies

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 8-5 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night at Nationals Park.

How it happened: The Nationals have quickly gotten the sour taste of their recent four-game skid out of their mouths.

Thanks to a resurgent offense and a quality start by Gio Gonzalez, Washington got back on track with Friday’s 8-2 win over the Rockies, the Nats’ second win in as many days.

True to form, the power-laden lineup didn’t take long to strike. Jayson Werth launched a solo home run, his second in as many days and his 18th of the season, to put Washington up 1-0 in the first inning, and scored again in the third on an RBI groundout by Daniel Murphy.

With the game tied 2-2 in the fourth inning, the Nats wouldn’t create breathing room until the middle innings. The Nats took a lead they wouldn’t surrender when they scored two runs on a Jose Lobaton fielder’s choice in the fourth inning, followed by a Murphy solo home run in the fifth to make it 4-2.

From there, the game was blown open in the seventh inning thanks to a four-spot that was highlighted by an RBI double by Werth and a two-run triple by Bryce Harper that nearly left the ballpark.

The Rockies closed the gap to 8-5 on a Nick Hundley three-run home run in the ninth off Shawn Kelley, so Dusty Baker turned to Mark Melancon to notch the final out and secure the victory.  

What it means: The Nats have won back to back games and have raised their record to 75-53. Pending the result of the Miami Marlins game, Washington could be up nine games in the NL East by the end of the night.

Gonzalez notches win No. 100: The lefty starter wasn’t dominant by any means, but he did what Baker wanted him to do: keep his pitch count down and avoid the big inning. Gonzalez allowed two earned runs on four hits over six innings and 85 pitches, and limited the damage every time the Rockies were threatening. He could have easily gone deeper in the game, but Baker opted to pinch hit for him when the Nats had two on and two out in the bottom of the sixth. Regardless, the performance was good enough to earn Gonzalez the 100th victory of his career. 

Murphy’s milestone: With his 25th home run of the season, a fifth-inning solo shot, Murphy notched his 500th career RBI. It’s a remarkable achievement considering that he currently has 98 RBI on the season, which means roughly a fifth of the runs he’s driven in have come in 2016.

Bryce back? Don’t look now, but Harper is looking very much like the reigning NL MVP these days. He added two more extra-base hits Friday night, including his first triple of the season, and is now hitting an even .400 since his return from a neck injury. His season average has suddenly risen to .254, and with the way he’s going, could get to .260 by the end of the weekend.

Up next: The middle game of this three-game set will take place Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. as the Nats send A.J. Cole (0-1, 5.14 ERA) to oppose Jorge De La Rosa (8-7, 5.07 ERA).

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Gallardo doesn't make it through 2 as Orioles lose 14-4

Gallardo doesn't make it through 2 as Orioles lose 14-4

NEW YORK—Yovani Gallardo allowed eight runs in the shortest start of his career. Adam Jones was no longer on the field by the time Gallardo departed with one out in the second inning. 

It was an all-around ugly night for the Orioles in the Bronx. 

Since the last time the Orioles were here, on July 21, the Yankees have made major changes to their team, and their new look guys overwhelmed the Orioles 14-4 before 38,423 at Yankee Stadium on Friday night. 

Jones left the game in the second inning with a strained left hamstring. 

Gallardo (4-6) has won just one of his last 11 starts, and this one was lost early when Mark Teixeira hit a two-run home run in the first inning, and six runs scored in the second. 

At one point, nine consecutive New York hitters reached. 

Gallardo got the first out of the second, and then allowed a single to Chase Headley and walked Aaron Judge. Ronald Torreyes’ fly ball to center was dropped by Nolan Reimold, playing in place of Jones. 

Brett Gardner singled to drive in two. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with an RBI single, and Gary Sanchez doubled for two more. After Vance Worley replaced Gallardo, Teixeira’s single gave New York (66-61) an 8-1 lead. 

Gallardo worked just 1 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs, seven earned on six hits. 

Worley allowed two-run home runs to Chase Headley in the fourth and Sanchez in the fifth. 

Sanchez, the hot rookie catcher who assumed the job from Brian McCann at the trading deadline, has reeled off 10 home runs in 22 career games. He’s the first Yankees rookie to hit 10 homers in a month. 

Manny Machado hit his 30th home run in the first off Luis Cessa (4-0). That home run gave the Orioles (70-58) three 30 home run hitters for the first time in team history. 

Machado added his 31st home run in the sixth, a two-run home run to cut New York’s lead to 12-3. 

Cessa allowed three runs on five hits in six innings. 

Mike Wright allowed two runs in the seventh on a run-scoring double by Torreyes and an RBI single by Gardner. 

Jonathan Schoop’s RBI single in the ninth gave the Orioles their fourth run.

NOTES: The 10-run margin of defeat equaled the largest of the season. The Orioles have allowed 10 or more runs in three of their past eight games. …  Dylan Bundy (7-4, 3.33) faces Chad Green (2-3, 3.66) on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m.