Fairfax native seeks turnaround

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Fairfax native seeks turnaround

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Steve Marinos first round at the 2008 AT&T National was memorable for two reasons: the affable Fairfax, Va.-native boasted the tournaments rowdiest gallery and, for a time, sat atop the leaderboard.
When the event kicks off at Congressional Country Club on Thursday, Marino figures to be closely followed by a big gallery filled with friends, former classmates and family. Whats less certain, though, is how hell perform on one of the PGA Tours toughest courses.
Its always really exciting for me to come back and play at this tournament having grown up around here, said Marino, a graduate of W.T. Woodson High and the University of Virginia. I kind of mark this tournament down every year as something I look forward to.
Theres something else thats got him looking forward to it this year hes finally healthy.

Marino missed four months earlier this season with a knee injury. In the three tournaments since his return, including the U.S. Open two weeks ago, hes missed the cut.
Complications with his left knee occurred following surgery to repair a torn meniscus last October. At the Sony Open in January, Marino endured excruciating pain each time he bent over to read putts.
I pulled my pant leg up and my knee was just really swollen, a lot of fluid in it, Marino said.
After playing through the pain for two more weeks, he was diagnosed with a condition called avascular necrosis.
At first I thought I was going to miss a few weeks and be back, Marino said. But I ended up having a bone contusion on the tip of my tibia and femur. There was no blood flow to the area, so it wasnt healing.

Basically, my bone was dying, he continued. They wanted me to stay off it, non-weight bearing stuff.
So, for the next 16 weeks, Marino, a normally active 32-year-old who likes to fish, was reduced to a couch potato who occasionally slept in a hyperbaric chamber.
No boating. Definitely no fishing, doctors orders.
It was pretty boring for a few months, he said with a smile. Watched a lot of TV. I think Ive seen every movie thats ever been made.

Since returning to the Tour last month, Marino has struggled to regain his form, failing to reach the weekend in any of his three outings. At the U.S. Open, he fired an 84 and followed it up with a 78.
Still, he likes his chances this week, in part, because his knee feels much stronger.
Hopefully Ive knocked most of the rust off, said Marino, who has almost 9 million in career earnings but is still seeking his first PGA Tour victory. I just need to get one solid round under my belt then I can start rolling a little bit.

Marino will certainly have the support of a large and loyal gallery, even if his supporters are less boisterous (and minus a guy wearing green shorts emblazoned with pink flamingos) than before.
Some of them might have matured a little bit the last couple of years, Marino chuckled, referring to his hometown buddies. So it might be a little bit tamer. And also, that year I think I had the first round lead. So everybody was really excited. They were pretty rowdy.

Marino may not be among the favorites to win, but if youre looking for a personable underdog to follow, hes your guy.

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Twins double up Orioles Monday night after erasing Baltimore's early lead

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USA Today Sports

Twins double up Orioles Monday night after erasing Baltimore's early lead

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Max Kepler homered and drove in four runs, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco each had a career-high four hits and the Minnesota Twins roared back to beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-7 Monday night.

Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning and 6-2 entering the fifth before cranking up the offense against Ubaldo Jimenez and an ineffective Baltimore bullpen.

A two-run double by Kepler helped the Twins knot the score in the fifth, Minnesota sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth and Sano added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Joe Mauer had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Twins, who reached season highs in runs and hits (21).

Adam Jones hit a three-run drive in the second inning off Kyle Gibson (1-4) for Baltimore.

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It was his 125th home run at Camden Yards, moving him out of a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for the most in the history of the 26-year-old ballpark.

That proved to be the highlight of an otherwise ugly night for the Orioles.

Jimenez frittered away a five-run lead and missed a chance to earn his first win since April 19. The right-hander allowed six runs and nine hits in four-plus innings, a performance that lifted his ERA to an unsightly 7.17.

Jimenez was replaced by Tyler Wilson (2-2), who gave up six runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Down 5-0, the Twins got an RBI groundout from Mauer in third before Kepler led off the fourth with a home run.

It was 6-2 before Minnesota bunched together five hits in the fifth. After Kepler chased Jimenez with a two-run double, Eduardo Escobar hit a sacrifice fly and Polanco tied it with an RBI single.

Highlights of the Twins' sixth inning included a tiebreaking double by Mauer, a two-run double by Escobar, an error by second baseman Jonathan Schoop and a run-inducing balk when Stefan Crichton dropped the ball in the midst of his windup.

Recalled from Triple-A Rochester before the game, Gibson gave up six runs in five innings, but nevertheless earned his first victory in seven starts this season.

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Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

Jay Gruden views Chris Thompson as the NFL's best third-down running back

In 2016, Chris Thompson simply needed to prove to Jay Gruden that he could handle 16 NFL games.

Now, looking ahead to 2017, the fifth-year running back hopes to show his head coach he can shoulder 16 NFL games and a larger workload.

"I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year," Thompson said Monday at the Redskins Charitable Golf Foundation. "[Gruden] knows now that I'm healthy and I can stay healthy, which I think that was one of his biggest concerns. So now he sees that I can handle the load, I think that I'll get a lot more opportunities this year."

Last season was by far the best in the 26-year-old's career. He played a full slate of games after playing in just 19 over his first three seasons combined, and he set career highs in rushing attempts (68), yards (356), receptions (49), receiving yards (349) and total touchdowns (5).

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He also held up well in pass protection, a key duty for him as the team's third-down running back. And it's all of those qualities — being able to contribute on handoffs and with catches while also providing help in keeping Kirk Cousins upright — that make him an excellent fit for a popular NFL duty.

The most excellent in that duty, actually, if you ask Gruden. 

"I think Chris Thompson's role is big," he said. "When you're talking about third downs, that's the most important down in football. There's nobody better as a third-down back in my opinion than Chris. He's got a huge role on this football team." 

Gruden went on to indicate that an increase in Thompson's responsibilities is likely coming, though No. 25 will still do the majority of his work when the offense needs him most.

"Whether he does some more stuff on first- and second-down will be determined," he said. "I'm sure he will. But he's so valuable on third-down that I gotta keep him in that role for now."

A 2013 fifth-round pick who came into the league with a history of injuries, Thompson has now fully gained the trust of his coaches and teammates. The 5-foot-8 running back may be small in stature, but the Redskins know he's not small in importance.  

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