Giants BP helps close out Tigers in World Series

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Giants BP helps close out Tigers in World Series

DETROIT (AP) Jeremy Affeldt was first. Then Santiago Casilla came on and got the ball to Sergio Romo, who closed it out for San Francisco.

When Matt Cain was unable to finish off the Detroit Tigers, his buddies in the bullpen took over.

Affeldt, Casilla and Romo combined for three scoreless innings in relief of Cain, striking out seven in all to help the Giants to a 4-3 victory in Game 4 that clinched the World Series title for the Giants on Sunday night.

Romo struck out the side in the 10th inning, including Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera for the final out, for his fourth save of the postseason.

``He's a guy you want out there,'' San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. ``He's not afraid and commands the ball so well. Really, I know this is a play on words, he saved us all year.''

The 5-foot-11 right-hander became the first pitcher to save at least three games in the World Series since John Wetteland did it for the New York Yankees in 1996.

``Romo has that unhittable slider and he never let the moment get to him,'' fellow Giants pitcher Javier Lopez said. ``He just went in there and attacked the zone like he's done all year long and you saw the results.

``He's a little man that pitches like a big man.''

Casilla hit Omar Infante, breaking his left hand, in the ninth, but bounced back by getting Gerald Laird to hit into a fielder's choice and got the win.

Affeldt gave up a leadoff walk in the eighth inning, then struck out the middle of Detroit's lineup - Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young - while pitching 1 2-3 innings.

While the bullpen gets credit for its performance, Affeldt dished some back to Cain.

``What an amazing job keeping us in the game seven innings so we didn't need to use our `pen until late in the game,'' Affeldt said.

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RETURN TRIP: Manager Bruce Bochy guided San Francisco to the 2010 championship and to another title on Sunday night.

But long before that, he was a backup catcher for the San Diego Padres in the 1984 World Series.

``That was so long ago, but it is amazing how things come back around,'' Bochy said.

In his only at-bat, he got a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning of Game 5 at Tiger Stadium, the day Detroit closed out the championship.

``I have great memories of being in the World Series, not real good ones on how it came out,'' he said.

``But what a thrill for any player, and of course myself, when you get to the World Series for the first time. We had split in San Diego, then came here and they beat us here,'' he said. ``But great time for me, I got one at-bat, and I was thrilled that Dick Williams put me in there.''

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HALL OF FAME PRAISE: Al Kaline played in an era of greats, from Ted Williams to Mickey Mantle to Reggie Jackson.

Yet the former Detroit standout says the top guy he watched was someone he never faced in a regular-season game.

Kaline, now 77 and a special assistant for the Tigers, was at AT&T Park in San Francisco earlier in the World Series. Willie Mays, at 81, took part in the first-ball ceremony honoring Giants stars before Game 1.

``Willie Mays was the best player I ever saw,'' Kaline said. ``I was lucky to see a lot of them. But Willie was something special.''

``To me, he was the poster boy for baseball. The way he played, his enthusiasm and his ability,'' Kaline said of his fellow Hall of Famer.

The Tigers and Giants had never met in postseason play before this year, and there was no interleague play in their day. With Detroit working out in Florida and the Giants in Arizona, they didn't see each other in spring training.

Mays made his first All-Star team in 1954 and Kaline was first picked a year later. They were then chosen in every summer showcase through 1967.

``That's where I got to see him, and he was fun to watch. He could really play,'' Kaline said.

Kaline, however, said he never got to spend much time with Mays.

``I see him at the Hall of Fame and like to stop by, shake his hand and just be who I am,'' he said. ``I'm not kidding myself. I was a good player. But he was great. There aren't too many who were at his level.''

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ON PITCH: Jim Leyland is in tune with Justin Verlander.

``I'm aware of his singing skills,'' the Tigers' ace said Sunday. ``I've seen it a couple times at some hotels. In the hotel bar sometimes they'll have a setup and he gets on the mic.''

Leyland has managed the Tigers since 2006. Verlander's entire career has been under Leyland, except for his first two games in 2005.

``He's an old school manager, and I feel maybe if I had played for a different manager, things might not be the same as they are now, where they let me go out and be that workhorse and throw 120 pitches an outing,'' Verlander said.

``You see some teams that are a little different in that regard. But I consider myself an old school pitcher, and I think Skip considers himself an old school manager. He allows me to go out there and do what I do.''

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Capitals forced overtime but couldn't keep up against Hurricanes in preseason opener

Capitals forced overtime but couldn't keep up against Hurricanes in preseason opener

Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ preseason opening loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1 in overtime, on Monday night at Verizon Center:

How it happened: Prospect Madison Bowey scored on the power play with 6:02 left to play to force overtime and give the Capitals’ prospect heavy-lineup a chance. But Justin Faulk rifled a shot past Drew MacIntyre on the power play to lift the Hurricanes with seven seconds remaining in the extra session. Carolina’s first goal was scored by Patrick Brown, who ripped a shot over Vitek Vanecek’s glove with 18 seconds left in the first period.

What it means: The storyline to watch is the injury suffered by Tom Wilson late in the second period. The Capitals said the big winger suffered an upper body injury and would not return for precautionary reasons. Although it was not immediately clear when Wilson got hurt, he did catch a shoulder from Jordan Staal with 3:18 remaining in the middle frame. Staal was whistled for elbowing and Wilson glided to the bench and took a seat. It should be noted that Staal and Wilson had been jawing at one another for much of the game.

Halfsies: Vanecek stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced, including a couple of big pad stops on the penalty kill in the first period. Overall, the 2014 second-round pick was mostly solid in his NHL debut but has work to do on his rebound control. Vanecek was replaced by Drew MacIntyre midway through the second period. MacIntyre, meantime, finished with 14 stops, including three in the extra session.

Anticipated debut: 2016 first rounder Lucas Johansen had a solid pro debut skating alongside veteran Taylor Chorney. Johansen, the 28th overall pick in June, skated 19:06. He finished with one shot, one hit and a minor penalty. Best word to sum up his performance? Uneventful, which is meant as a compliment for a rookie defenseman making his NHL debut.  

A-Team: With Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom out of the lineup, associate coach Todd Reirden handed out three alternate captain ‘A’s — to Orpik, Wilson and Jay Beagle. Orpik wore an ‘A’ last season; Wilson is expected to take on a bigger role on and off the ice this season; and Beagle is a hardworking, heart-and-soul guy.   

Inside the box score: Prospect Nathan Walker finished with a game-high six hits in 13:18 of ice time.

Look ahead: The Capitals face the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday night. Some of the players who suited up against the Hurricanes also might make the trip to Bell Centre, but Reirden said final decision on a lineup wouldn’t be made until after the coaches meet after Monday’s game. “For sure some players will play back-to-back games,” Reirden said before the game. “But we want to see how things go in terms of what people do with their opportunity. That’s the beauty of training camp.” 

RELATED: Tom Wilson left Carolina game in the second period with an injury

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Wilson Ramos exits Nats game vs. D'Backs with injury

Wilson Ramos exits Nats game vs. D'Backs with injury

The Nationals suffered another injury to an important player on Monday night, as All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos fell down holding his right leg on a throw home in the sixth inning on Monday night against the Diamondbacks.

Ramos was then helped off the field by trainers and teammates as Pedro Severino came in to replace him. Others in the Nats dugout looking stunned as he went straight to the locker room.

Ramos had surgery in 2012 to reconstruct his knee after tearing both his ACL and MCL. He missed the team's first playoff run because of it and has since blossomed into one of the best catchers in the majors.

Ramos fell down on a wet field after the game was resumed after a 20-minute rain delay. The 29-year-old is set to hit free agency this offseason for the first time in his career.

The Nationals are already without Bryce Harper (thumb) and Daniel Murphy (strained buttock) temporarily. Starter Stephen Strasburg is out indefinitely with a right flexor mass strain. Losing Ramos for any period of time would be a big blow with the playoffs right around the corner.

More on this story as it develops...

[RELATED: Thoughts on the death of Marlins star Jose Fernandez]

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