Curran 'not caring' his way into SHO mix with third-round 69


Curran 'not caring' his way into SHO mix with third-round 69

Three years ago, Jon Curran would have been 'freaking' at Sunday’s possibilities.

Orioles can't break through and lose 7-0 to Yankees


Orioles can't break through and lose 7-0 to Yankees

BALTIMORE – Wednesday’s pregame was dominated by silly talk that the Orioles deliberately canceled the New York Yankees’ batting practice the day before. 

Rain was forecast, but it never came, but that sometimes happens around here. 

The Yankees took batting practice in the mist, and on yet another cool and unpleasant night, broke their six-game losing streak with a 7-0 win over the Orioles before 15,998 at Oriole Park.

Chris Davis, who was wearing a large wrap over his left hand after the game, acknowledges the weather is difficult to play in. 

“It’s tough for everybody, but it’s part of the season. I think the biggest thing for us to remember is it’s a long season. These are the games that test you early on, but later in the season, they pay off,” Davis said. 

Davis played behind Tyler Wilson, who through the first five innings, allowed just one hit, and 11 of his first 15 outs were on the ground. 

It all came apart in the sixth. With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury singled and stole second. He advanced to third on Brett Gardner’s single. Ellsbury scored when Adam Jones did not attempt a throw home on Carlos Beltran’s fly to center field. 

“He just didn't get it out good. He made a great throw to the plate the play before. He just couldn't get it out of his glove. He just couldn't get the exchange down right,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

Mark Teixeira walked, and Gardner scored on Brian McCann’s single to right. Starlin Castro bounced to the mound, but Wilson (1-1) threw the ball past Davis at first for a two-base error as Teixiera scored.

“That’s probably the thing that upsets me most about the outing. Obviously we practice and do that all the time, and there’s no excuse for that. I pushed the ball into the ground, made a good grip, and then threw it into the ground. Stayed low, threw it, did everything the way we always practice it. I just didn't execute. That’s 100 percent on me,” Wilson said. 

The Orioles (15-11) had plenty of opportunities against CC Sabathia, who recorded his 19th win against them. 

They hit into three double plays, and had just one runner on third base. In the fifth, Jonathan Schoop doubled, and one out, Ryan Flaherty singled, but Schoop stayed at third as Joey Rickard and Manny Machado struck out.
“That’s kind of been the way things have been going for us lately. We’ve had a few games where we’ve been able to score some runs early and capitalize on those opportunities but for the most part, we’re not getting the job done when we have runners in scoring position," Davis said.

"I think the biggest thing to remember is to stay the course.  We’re playing really good ball defensively right now. I think we’re throwing the ball really well right now and we’re keeping ourselves in the game and we all know the bats are going to heat up when the weather is not raining and cold and it warms up a bit,” Davis said. 

It got worse in the eighth. T.J. McFarland gave up a leadoff double to Beltran, walked Teixiera and left with the score 5-0 after McCann doubled to right and advance to third on the throw. Didi Gregorius’ single made it 6-0.
Dylan Bundy loaded the bases with two outs, and hit Gardner with a 3-2 pitch. New York (9-16) led 7-0. 

Sabathia (2-2), who barely made New York’s rotation out of spring training, allowed six hits in seven innings. 

“I think over the years, he’s really had to pitch more. His velocity is obviously not where it used to be, but he knows how to pitch. You don’t stay in this game that long not knowing how to pitch,” Davis said. 

Kirby Yates loaded the bases in the eighth with one out, but Dellin Betances struck out Davis and retired Mark Trumbo on a foul pop to third. 

Showalter felt Wilson pitched decently. 

“I thought he was pretty good period. He had a wet ball that he couldn’t get a grip on. He did his part. He was good. He pitched well. We just didn’t score any runs. It’s one of those nights where if even at three, if we can score some … I choose to look at the outing like it really was. He was good. We’ll take that,” Showalter said. 

NOTES: The crowd was the smallest for a Yankees-Orioles game in Baltimore since Sept. 27, 1988 when 15,737 watched at Memorial Stadium. … The Orioles were shut out for the second time this season while New York recorded its first shutout. … Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 2.87) pitches against Kevin Gausman (0-1, 2.45) on Thursday night. 

Caps lose an OT heartbreaker in Game 4


Caps lose an OT heartbreaker in Game 4

PITTSBURGH – Veteran defenseman Mike Weber was inserted into the Capitals lineup Wednesday night for his defensive prowess and physicality. But with the game on the line and the puck in his skates, Weber inadvertently shoved the puck to Patric Hornqvist at the most inopportune time.

Hornqvist fired the puck past Caps goaltender Braden Holtby just 2:34 into overtime, giving the Penguins a dramatic 3-2 win and a commanding 3-1 series lead on the Capitals.

Game 5 will be played Saturday night at Verizon Cernter. 

How it happened: The Capitals got on the board first just 2:58 into the game when Tom Wilson dumped the puck into the offensive zone and Jay Beagle grabbed it and roofed a backhander over Matt Murray for his third goal of the playoffs.  The Caps entered the game with an all-time record of 27-2-5 when Beagle scores (2-0 in the playoffs) and were 18-0-1 when Wilson recorded a point in the regular season. But that didn’t stop the Penguins from taking a 2-1 lead on goals by Trevor Daley and Matt Cullen. Daley scored his first goal of the playoffs 9:16 into the opening period when his shot bounced off Karl Alzner and under Braden Holtby. Penguins center Matt Cullen opened the second period by stripping Nicklas Backstrom on a faceoff and beating him down the ice, sliding the puck between the pads of Holtby for a go-ahead breakaway goal at the 3:07 mark. The Penguins failed on three power-play opportunities and the Caps whiffed on two of their own in the opening 40 minutes before John Carlson scored his fourth goal of the playoffs on a hard-working play by Justin Williams, who stripped defenseman Derrick Pouliot and fed Carlson for a roof shot over Murray with 3:41 to play in the second period.


Change in strategy: After seeing Alex Ovechkin rip off 18 shot attempts and deliver nine hits against the Sidney Crosby line in Game 3, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan went a different route, using the Penguins’ bottom two lines against the line of Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Ovechkin. Matt Cullen’s line with wingers Tom Kuhnhackl and Oskar Sundqvist drew most of the assignments on the Ovechkin line and the 39-year-old Cullen did a masterful job, scoring his third goal of the playoffs to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead early in the second period.

Slash on Crosby: Seven years to the day since their dueling hat tricks in the 2009 playoffs, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin went at it again, only with a more physical edge this time. Crosby left the game in a fit of frustration early in the third period after taking a slash to the hand from Ovechkin, slamming his stick on a wall down the tunnel, but returned a few minutes later.  

Lineup changes: Caps defenseman Mike Weber returned to the lineup and played on a third pairing with Taylor Chorney. That meant a promotion for Dmitry Orlov, who played on a second unit with John Carlson.

For the Pens, defenseman Justin Schultz went into the lineup for the suspended Kris Letang and played on a third defense pairing with Ian Cole. Brian Domoulin took Letang’s spot on a top pairing with Trevor Daley, while Ben Lovejoy moved from the third D pairing to the second alongside Derrick Pouliot. Up front, Eric Fehr (undisclosed injury) missed his first game of the playoffs and was replaced by Oskar Sundqvist, who played on a fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnhackl. Bryan Rust played in Game 4 for the Penguins despite walking with a severe limp at the morning skate, lining up alongside Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz. That meant enforcer Tom Sestito remained a healthy scratch.

Look ahead: With two day off before they play again on Saturday night at 7:15, the Capitals and Penguins are scheduled to take Thursday off as a recovery day, then resume practice on Friday. Brooks Orpik has one more game remaining on his three-game suspension.


Sidney Crosby not thrilled to get whacked by Alex Ovechkin


Sidney Crosby not thrilled to get whacked by Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin cracked Sidney Crosby in the wrist while going for a puck halfway through the third period.

Crosby exited the ice and headed to the locker room for a quick evaluation. 

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Crosby was clearly frustated — he and Ovechkin don't exactly see eye to eye —and as he headed toward the locker room, took his frustration out on the brick wall.

Crosby returned moments later and Twitter promptly blew up.