Surprising hero propels Yankees in Game 1...

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Surprising hero propels Yankees in Game 1...

From Comcast SportsNetBALTIMORE (AP) -- For eight innings, the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles staged a magnificent duel worthy of two division foes that split 18 games during the regular season and finished two games apart in the standings.Then the Yankees brushed aside the upstart, inexperienced newcomers and crashed a party 15 years in the making.Russell Martin led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking home run off Jim Johnson, CC Sabathia turned in a sparkling pitching performance and the Yankees pulled away to a 7-2 victory Sunday night in the opener of their AL divisional series.Sabathia allowed two runs and eight hits in 8 2-3 innings to help the Yankees take the edge off the Orioles' first home playoff game since 1997. The husky left-hander went 0-2 in three starts against Baltimore during the regular season, but in this one he returned to form and improved his lifetime record against the Orioles to 17-4."Fastball command was good, worked off that," Sabathia said. "Throwing the ball pretty good getting the corners. Tried to stay out there and make some pitches."Sabathia is 6-1 with the Yankees in the postseason, 4-0 in the division series."I thought he gave us a great performance," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "Didn't give up a lot of hard hit balls tonight, had a really good changeup tonight, and I thought he used it very effectively."With the score 2-all, Martin drove a 2-0 pitch from Johnson into the left-field seats."I definitely wasn't thinking home run," Martin said. "He left a fastball up and I put good wood on it."It was the first of four straight hits off Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves. Raul Ibanez and Derek Jeter followed with singles, Ichiro Suzuki drove in a run with a swinging bunt and one out later, Robinson Cano hit a two-run double.In his seven prior appearances against New York, Johnson allowed one run in seven innings and had three saves. Nick Swisher capped the five-run ninth with a sacrifice fly off Tommy Hunter."I made mistakes," Johnson said. "I obviously paid for those, and that was location. It wasn't anything else. Two fastballs that really cost us. Just have to make a better pitch. That's all it comes down to."Game 2 will be played Monday night.The start of the game was delayed by rain for 2 hours, 26 minutes, and that did nothing to lessen the enthusiasm of the 47,841 fans who endured 14 straight losing seasons while waiting for the Orioles to play a postseason game at Camden Yards."We're obviously disappointed we couldn't give them a win, but at least we're playing a five-game series instead of a shootout," Orioles right fielder Chris Davis said.Baltimore left seven on base and went 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position."We stayed in as long as we could," Davis said. "We're finding out what playoff baseball is all about. You've got to capitalize on every opportunity that you give yourself and we weren't able to do that."Then again, it's tough to mount a sustained rally against someone as polished and dominant as Sabathia."He just kind of wore us down," Davis said. "You have to tip your hat to him. He held us to two runs and gave them a chance to win in the end."Orioles starter Jason Hammel allowed two runs, four hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander underwent knee surgery in July and returned to pitch two games in September before his right knee began to bother him again. After working his way back into form, Hammel donned a knee brace and gave Baltimore a solid 112-pitch outing in his first start in nearly a month.New York missed an excellent chance to take the lead in the seventh. After Troy Patton walked Martin and Ibanez, Darren O'Day entered and Jeter dropped down a perfect two-strike sacrifice bunt. With the infield drawn in, Suzuki hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Robert Andino, who threw home. Matt Wieters grabbed the ball on the short hop and tagged out Martin. O'Day then struck out Alex Rodriguez.Neither team got a runner in scoring position again until J.J. Hardy started the Baltimore eighth with a double. He did not advance."Being able to get out of that with a tie and give us a chance to get up and score some runs, which we did, was just a big spot," Sabathia said.Immediately after Orioles fans cheered and waved their orange towels following a first-pitch strike by Hammel to open the game, the Yankees went to work. Jeter hit a leadoff single and Suzuki followed with an RBI double into the gap in left-center. But Suzuki was thrown out trying to steal third, and Hammel settled down by striking out Rodriguez and retiring Cano on a broken-bat fly to right.Sabathia retired the first six batters he faced without allowing a ball out of the infield, then ran into trouble in the third inning. Davis led off with a single, Lew Ford singled and both runners moved up on a bunt before Nate McLouth bounced a two-run single into right field for a 2-1 lead.New York promptly tied it in the fourth, but another potential big inning was short-circuited when a runner was thrown out on the basepaths. After Hammel walked two of the first three batters, Mark Teixeira ripped a liner off the right-field scoreboard. The hit brought home a run, but Teixeira -- who only recently returned from a strained left calf -- was thrown out at second by Davis. That left Swisher at third base with two outs, and after an intentional walk to Curtis Granderson, Martin hit a fly to center.Singles by Davis and Andino put runners at the corners with one out in the fifth before McLouth looked at a third strike and Hardy grounded out.NOTES:Andy Pettitte will bring 42 games of playoff experience into Game 2 on Monday night as the starting pitcher for the Yankees. Orioles rookie Wei-Yin Chen will be making his postseason debut. ... Wieters went 0 for 4 against Sabathia and now is 5 for 28 (.179) lifetime against him. ... In 16 career division series openers, Jeter is batting .448 (26 for 58) and reached base in 15 games. ... Suzuki has at least one hit in 10 of his 11 career postseason games and has reached base in all of them. He's also hit in 20 straight games at Camden Yards, a streak that began in 2008.

Kris Letang suspended one game for Game 3 hit on Marcus Johansson

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Kris Letang suspended one game for Game 3 hit on Marcus Johansson

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang wills erve a one-game suspension for his late, high hit on Capitals' forward Marcus Johansson in the first period of Game 3, the NHL announced on Tuesday afternoon.

As Johansson attempted to push the puck toward the Penguins' net, three players closed in on him.

As the puck scooted toward the boards, Letang led with his shoulders, leaving his feet and drilling Johansson in the head.

Letang was sent to the penalty box and Johansson was taken to the locker room, where he was cleared for a return. Johasson was not however, a participant in Capitals' practice on Tuesday morning.

Following Brooks Orpik's hit on Olli Maatta in Game 2, which garnered a three-game suspension, there was much debate as to what punishment Letang would receive. But after a hearing with the NHL on Tuesday morning, it was determined that Letang's hit was only worth a one-game suspension.

Letang will miss Game 4, which takes place on Wednesday night at 8:15 p.m. ET in Pittsburgh.

Date officially announced for Maryland-Georgetown rematch in 2016

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Date officially announced for Maryland-Georgetown rematch in 2016

It was known before Maryland renewed its rivalry with Georgetown in 2015 that there would be a sequel the following season in Washington, D.C. Reports recently said the same. Now, it is officially confirmed and a date has been set. 

The Terrapins will face the Hoyas on Nov. 15 at Verizon Center in D.C. as part of the 2016 Gavitt Tipoff Games, which pits Big Ten teams against Big East teams in matchups across the country.

Maryland won the inaugural Gavitt matchup between the two teams, 75-71, on Nov. 17, 2015 at XFINITY Center in College Park.

Referees on Dion Waiters' inbounds shove: 'Never seen before'

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Referees on Dion Waiters' inbounds shove: 'Never seen before'

If you went to bed Monday night before the final frantic seconds of Oklahoma City's Game 2 win over San Antonio then you missed a play nobody has ever seen before. That's not hyperbole, but rather what just about everyone from analyst Chris Webber in real time to the "Inside the NBA" crew following the game to the referees well after the fact.

That the referees reacted then and the day after as if Dion Waiters shoving Manu Ginobili while attempting to throw the ball inbounds compared to a UFO sighting is remarkable.

You can watch the entire sequence below, but here's an isolated look at the shove that changed the world.

Now, here's what the refs on the scene told a pool reporter following the Thunder's 98-97 win which evened the best-of-7 series 1-1.

On Tuesday afternoon, the The National Basketball Referees Association tweeted out the following statement.

Look, we get it, this play was rare if not a true unicorn. How to handle such a sequence isn't taught in official official's classes, cool. 

That doesn't mean go into deer-in-the-headlights mode. Go back and view the first clip above and note where the ref is positioned. If that guy can't see something squirrely happened then not sure what we're all doing here. 

Even if the "we've never seen this before" angle on the shove led to freezing in the moment, how about what Waiters did right after? Channeling Kris Kross with a jump isn't kosher for an inbounds passer in this situation.

Now, was Ginobili, as some have asserted, technically too close to the passer as the defender? Maybe, but that wasn't called either. If the refs whistle the play dead, discuss and call some sort of do-over because both were at fault, maybe that flies, but probably not. We've seen Ginobili's move thousands of times without a call. Apparently nobody has ever seen Waiters' infraction before. 

Here's a suggestion to those teaching the NBA referees on what should be the primary takeaway from this rarest of rare plays. Forget the shove or even the jump. Teach your refs how to think on their feet.