'Monday Night Football' was just awful

844051.jpg

'Monday Night Football' was just awful

From Comcast SportsNet
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Darren McFadden needed one series to show he's in midseason form for Oakland following a foot injury that cut his last season short. Most of the rest of the first-team offensive players for the Raiders and Dallas Cowboys need plenty of work to get back to that level. McFadden picked up where he left off last season by gaining 38 yards on Oakland's first three plays of the exhibition season and the Raiders went on to lose to the Dallas Cowboys 3-0 on Monday night. "He was able to make some explosive gains," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "That's what we anticipate out of him. He's an explosive playmaker. We have to find ways to get him the ball and give him an opportunity to be explosive for us." McFadden, who missed the last nine games of 2011 with a Lisfranc injury to his right foot, opened the game with a 4-yard run, an 18-yard reception and a 16-yard run to delight of the Raiders fans. But Carson Palmer threw an interception to Gerald Sensabaugh on the next play for Oakland (tied for No. 23 in the AP Pro32) and both the Raiders and Cowboys (No. 15, AP Pro32) struggled to generate much of anything until the reserves took over in the second half. "We made some mistakes and it cost us," Dallas quarterback Tony Romo said. "There will be some good stuff to evaluate and get better. We have to get better from tonight's game and we will." Kyle Orton took Dallas 67 yards on the opening drive of the second half to set up Dan Bailey's 33-yard field goal and that proved to be the only scoring of the night. McFadden left after that first series and Palmer couldn't move the Raiders without him. Matt Leinart played the rest of a scoreless first half and completed six passes to undrafted free agent Rod Streater, but couldn't put any points on the board. Dez Bryant, whose status was in question after leaving practice early Saturday because of hamstring tightness, came up with the only big play for Dallas' first-team offense when he made a good adjustment in the air for a 24-yard gain from Romo on the first offensive drive for the Cowboys. That was the only first down in three series with Romo under center. Only two of Dallas' other 10 plays with Romo in the game went for more than 1 yard and both of those were on third-and-longs when the Cowboys couldn't convert. But the Dallas defense did the job after the fast start by McFadden. "We just had to settle down," Sensabaugh said. "Once we got settled down and everybody just kept doing their job, there weren't too many big plays coming after that. (Our) guys were able to make plays." The play was sloppy all around as Dallas twice committed penalties on punts to prolong drives for Oakland and committed another before a botched snap on a field goal try. The Raiders were unable to make the Cowboys pay for those mistakes as the first drive aided by two fourth-down penalties ended in a punt and usually reliable Sebastian Janikowski was wide right on a 47-yard field goal attempt after the third infraction. Oakland had its share of mistakes as Chimdi Chekwa let a punt roll to the goal line instead of downing it at the 1 and receiver Jacoby Ford had a rough day all around. Ford was stopped after a 4-yard return on the opening kickoff, had two passes from Palmer go through his hands, was the target on Palmer's interception and muffed a punt that rolled out of bounds to miss a chance at a return. Even the replacement officials had problems as they spotted one ball outside the hash marks only to have Romo correct them. The game also marked the first real action as a pro for Terrelle Pryor, the former Ohio State star quarterback who had no official plays as a rookie with Oakland. Pryor missed last preseason because he entered the league late through the supplemental draft and committed a false start penalty before his only play in the regular season. Pryor completed 8 of 15 passes for 50 yards, was sacked twice and was quick to leave the pocket to scramble, running six times for 21 yards. He put Oakland in position to score, but Eddy Carmona missed a 36-yard field goal wide right with 6:44 remaining. Pryor then threw an interception on fourth-and-26 in the final minute to end the game. "I thought I played bad," Pryor said. "I just could've played a lot better and I will play better. I just played bad today." NOTES: Cowboys rookie LB Kyle Wilber broke his left thumb. ... Raiders C Stefen Wisniewski left in the first quarter with a calf injury. ... Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden greeted fans in the Black Hole before announcing the game for ESPN. ... New Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie lit the torch to honor late owner Al Davis. ... There was a moment of silence before the game for former Raiders DL Ben Davidson, who died last month at age 72.

Quick Links

Orioles magic number reduced to 2 with win over Yankees

Orioles magic number reduced to 2 with win over Yankees

NEW YORK—In a dramatic week for the Orioles, this may have been the most difficult day. 

Seven days ago, the Orioles came off a four-game sweep by the Boston Red Sox that finished their hopes of an American League East championship, and since then they’ve won six of seven games and are within two games of their third trip to the postseason in the last five seasons. 

This day was challenging because of the persistent rain that fell throughout the game and continued during it. Major League Baseball was determined to play the game, and the Orioles simply ignored the foul weather and pulled off an 8-1 win on Friday night over the New York Yankees before a crowd announced at 33,955 at Yankee Stadium. 

The crowd was in fact thousands smaller than the announced figure, and the several thousand on hand braved game time temperatures of 56 degrees, wind and rain.

The conditions were deplorable. Rain fell throughout the day, but Major League Baseball was determined to play on Friday night, and the Orioles didn’t let the awful weather deter them as they moved a step closer to the postseason. 

With their 8-1 win over the New York Yankees before 33,955 at Yankee Stadium, the Orioles reduced their magic number to two for clinching a postseason spot. 

Toronto, which began the game tied with the Orioles (88-72) for the top wild-card spot, lost to Boston, giving the Orioles the top wild-card spot. Detroit, which beat Atlanta, is trailing by 1 ½ games.

“That’s about as tough as you ever want to play in,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That was tough, you really got to be ready to play.” 

Showalter claims not to do too much scoreboard watching. 

“Not much at all until I had no choice because it was right behind the pitcher’s head every time I looked out there. I caught a couple glimpses, but I don’t watch it that much. I really don’t. I watch our scoreboard a lot,” Showalter said. 

In the past several seasons, Yankee Stadium hasn’t been kind to the Orioles. They’d lost 11 straight series openers since their last win on Aug. 31, 2012. 

Yovani Gallardo bulled through the conditions, and allowed a run on two hits in six innings. 

“It was hard to grip the ball and that sort of thing, and slipping off the mound and whatever. It gets tough for everybody in the field, but my main focus was after we got the lead was get the guys to swing the bat, throw the ball over the plate,” Gallardo said. 

“The last thing you want to do is start walking guys and getting yourself into trouble. When I did, I was able to make some pitches.”

Gallardo (6-8) didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning when Brian McCann singled. Gary Sanchez scored when the next batter, Mark Teixeira hit a sacrifice fly to left. 

Aaron Hicks singled to start the fifth, but Gallardo didn’t allow another hit. 

The Orioles offense went to work and their eight runs were the most since Sept. 10. 

Jonathan Schoop equaled his career high with five RBIs, a two-run double in the fourth and a three-run homer, his 25th of the season, that capped a six-run fifth inning. 

Adam Jones hit his 29th home run to lead off the inning against Michael Pineda (6-12), and Mark Trumbo hit a two-run homer, his major league leading 47th to chase Pineda. 

“We got a power team, and everybody is capable of catching one. The power is just one thing. We pitch, we defend, and we prove that we score not only when we hit home runs. We score when we move the runner over, sac fly, everything. We're a really good team,” Schoop said. 

Gallardo, and Darren O’Day who pitched the eighth, are two players who could play pivotal roles if the Orioles get to the postseason. 

Gallardo isn’t certain of making the postseason roster, and O’Day, who has been hurt much of the year, delivered a spotless eighth inning. 

“That was good tonight, especially in those conditions. If we could get in, he’d be a nice piece for us to add that we’ve been missing. That was encouraging tonight,” Showalter said. 

NOTES: The Orioles are the 12th team in major league Trumbo’s 47th home run ties Chris Davis (2015) for the fourth most home runs in team history. … Wade Miley (9-13, 5.40) faces Luis Severino (3-8, 5.75) on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. The six runs in the fifth were the most the Orioles scored in the fifth inning this season. … The three home run inning was the Orioles’ 10th this season, most in the majors. … The Orioles became the fifth major league team to hit 250 home runs. 

Quick Links

Cole struggles early, bullpen cracks late as Nats fall to Marlins

Cole struggles early, bullpen cracks late as Nats fall to Marlins

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 7-4 loss over the Miami Marlins on Friday night at Nationals Park.

How it happened: If the Nationals want to sew up home field advantage in their first playoff series, they still have more work to do — and only have two more games to do it.

The Nats were unable to help their cause Friday night, falling to the Marlins 7-4 in a rain-soaked affair that began nearly two hours after its scheduled start time.  

While the offense couldn’t come through late, it was starter A.J. Cole that put the Nats in a bind in this one. The 24-year-old rookie right hander forcing Dusty Baker to go to his bullpen early after yielding four runs (two earned) on six hits in just three innings of work.

But all it took was one inning for the Nats to even things up. Anthony Rendon and Stephen Drew opened the fourth with back-to-back solo home runs, and RBI hits by Jose Lobaton and Trea Turner make it 4-4 heading into the fifth.

The bullpen subsequently cracked, however, yielding a runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings to give the Marlins a 7-4 edge. The offense couldn’t mount a late rally, and that was all she wrote.

What it means: The magic number for home field advantage in the NLDS remains at two. As of this post, the Dodgers have yet to complete their game against the Giants, so there’s still a chance it could fall to one by Saturday morning.

Rendon reaches homer milestone: With his fourth-inning solo shot, Rendon became the latest Nats hitter join the 20 home run club. In fact, the Nats tied the 1965 and 2003 Braves as the only National League clubs with six players with 20-plus long balls in a season. (Interestingly enough, the Cardinals mathed that feat the Nats later in night after a Matt Holliday home run.)

But back to Rendon: For all the talk that the Nats offense sans Wilson Ramos will suffer, remember that Rendon has been one of the team’s best hitters since the All-Star break. Since then, he’s notched 11 homers, 20 doubles and 51 RBI. In other words, he’s fully returned to his ‘Tony Two-Bags’ form of 2014.

More accolades for Turner: D.C.’s favorite rookie had another one of his patented performances Friday night, going 2-for-3 with an RBI single, a triple and two stolen bases. He became the fourth player in MLB history to notch 10 home runs and 30 steals in less than 100 games, joining Rickey Henderson, Bobby Bonds and current Nats first base coach Davey Lopes. Since the break, he leads the team in both extra-base hits and steals. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Harper struggles: In his first game back since injuring his left thumb, Bryce Harper looked looked very much like a hitter trying to regain his timing at the plate. In four at-bats, he struck out four times — three of them swinging. It’s just one game, of course, but he and the Nats are quickly running out of time to rev up for October.

Up next: The Nats will continue their quest to gain home field advantage in the middle game of this three-game set. Washington will send Tanner Roark (15-10, 2.86 ERA) to the hill to oppose Marlins lefty Wei-Yin Chen (5-4, 5.02 ERA).