Orioles defeat Yankees in 13, force Game 5

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Orioles defeat Yankees in 13, force Game 5

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- These Birds don't rattle easily.A day after a demoralizing defeat, the Baltimore Orioles won a test of wills and Game 4 of the AL division series, bouncing back to outlast the New York Yankees 2-1 in 13 innings Thursday night on J.J. Hardy's RBI double.Now, after playing past midnight to even things, the Orioles will get a chance to finally overtake the Yankees in a winner-take-all Game 5 Friday. The teams have already split 22 games this year, and it all comes down this: a matchup for a spot in the AL championship series against Detroit."We just kept telling ourselves, this is not the last night of the season," Hardy said.Game 1 winner CC Sabathia was set to pitch the deciding game for the Yankees against Jason Hammel.With the innings and hours piling up, the Orioles were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position until Hardy doubled off David Phelps with one out to score Manny Machado, who had doubled."There hasn't been a whole lot of opportunities to score runs," Hardy said, "so when there are those opportunities, I think we're trying a little bit too hard."Phelps had relieved in the 12th after Joba Chamberlain was hit by a flying broken bat, forcing him to leave with a bruised right elbow.Jim Johnson returned from allowing Raul Ibanez's pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning Wednesday to earn his second save in the series with a perfect 13th."I don't take for granted at any time what these guys are accomplishing so far," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "They know that. I have so much respect for our guys."Hours after learning Joe Girardi had kept quiet that his father died last Saturday, the Yankees couldn't rally late. This time, Girardi called upon Eric Chavez to pinch hit for slumping Alex Rodriguez. He lined out to third base to end it.Baltimore's win pushed all four division series to five games for the first time since the round began in 1995.The Orioles have been pursuing the Yankees all season, cutting a 10-game deficit in July to zero in early September. Baltimore and New York were tied 10 times atop the East in the final month but the Yankees never completely relinquished the lead and wrapped up the division on the final night of the regular season.Baltimore advanced to the division series with a win over the West champion Texas Rangers in the wild-card playoff."You know, we played an elimination game last week to start our postseason. It's like a Game 7," reliever Darren O'Day said. "I think we all got as much playoff experience as we need, especially considering how many times we've played them this year. And tonight was an elimination game and tomorrow will be another one"After dropping Game 1, the Orioles rebounded with another one-run win in a season in which they had the best record in the majors in such games at 29-9. But they lost in stunning fashion in 12 innings Wednesday night, when Ibanez homered twice in his two at-bats after pinch-hitting for Rodriguez.Didn't affect these late-inning savants.They came right back Thursday for their first win in extras against the Yankees this year. They also lost twice to New York in extra innings in the regular season before going on a run of 16 straight wins after the ninth inning.It wasn't easy, though. Nate McLouth homered off Phil Hughes to start the fifth, but Baltimore wasted three shots with a runner on third base in the first four innings. They struggled against New York's bullpen.McLouth also made a leaping catch against the left-field wall to save a run.Matt Wieters knocked Chamberlain out of the game with a broken-bat single to lead off the 12th inning that struck his surgically repaired right elbow. Fans sat silent as Chamberlain bent over in pain. He was checked out by trainer Steve Donahue and Girardi.Chamberlain tested the elbow with three pitches before walking off the field. X-rays were negative. He's not sure if he'll be available for Game 5."You kind of see how it feels and go from there," Chamberlain said. "It's definitely not as stiff as it was when it first happened."Many of the Orioles gathered near their bat rack in the dugout for an impromptu cheer before the 13th and Machado then led off with a double.One out later, Hardy hit a one-bouncer off the wall in left field for his first RBI of the series.The hit came after another Orioles quirk -- the players held Gatorade bottles and wiggled them in the dugout, trying to conjure up a rally.Showalter professed confidence in the 51-save Johnson before the game. He backed it up by calling on him for his fourth appearance of the series. He lost the opener after giving up five runs in the ninth and sandwiched saves around his trying homer to Ibanez.Seven Baltimore relievers pitched 7 1-3 innings of four-hit ball."There's really good pitching," Girardi said. "You're seeing some really good pitching in these four games."Baltimore needs it because their top hitters are missing a lot. Mark Reynolds is 3 for 16. Hardy is 3 for 18. Wieters is 2 for 17 and Adam Jones is 2 for 19.The Yankees held a moment of silence for Girardi's dad, Jerry, who died Saturday at 81 and had a long bout with Alzheimer's. Joe Girardi stood alone in front of the Yankees dugout and wiped his eyes after the national anthem. He blew a kiss to someone in the stands, then fist bumped several coaches and players.Facing elimination for the second time this postseason, Showalter turned again to Joe Saunders. Acquired by Baltimore on Aug. 26 from Arizona, Saunders pitched 5 2-3 innings of one-run ball in the wild-card win over Texas.He was just as crafty against New York, engaging with Phil Hughes in a duel of who could get out of the tougher jam.The Yankees put a runner on in every inning against Saunders but failed to score until the sixth.Derek Jeter lined an outside pitch to right field for a leadoff double in sixth, showing no ill effects of a bruised left foot that kept him from playing shortstop in the postseason for the first time in his career.He advanced on Ichiro Suzuki's sacrifice and scored on Robinson Cano's grounder to second. Showalter then lifted Saunders for right-hander Tommy Hunter to face Rodriguez. A-Rod struck out to loud boos and tossed his bat.NOTES:Highlights of Ibanez's two homers in Game 3 received loud cheers each time the clips were showed on the video board. ... Curtis Granderson has struck out nine times in 16 at-bats this postseason. ... Hughes and Saunders combined to walk seven after there were no walks Wednesday in 12 innings. ... Jeter got his 199th postseason hit.

Ward's sacrifice keys 'bounce-back' game for Sharks

Ward's sacrifice keys 'bounce-back' game for Sharks

SAN JOSE – Joel Ward has been in the league long enough to know that the Sharks got outworked and outhustled in their decisive loss to the Blues on Saturday.

That could be why he put his body on the line in the second period against the Jets on Monday afternoon at SAP Center. Ward hustled to a loose puck along the wall with the Sharks holding a slim 1-0 lead and slipped it ahead to Chris Tierney, before getting absolutely plastered by Mark Stuart on a hit as big as you’ll see in today’s NHL.

While Ward was sluggish to get up as a result of his head bouncing off the ice surface, Tierney gave it to Timo Meier, who finished off a breakaway goal early in the second period.

While he was seeing stars from what he called a “clean hit,” Ward also heard the goal horn.

“I tried to get the puck out, obviously, and next thing I knew I was on my back and heard the horn go off,” he said. “I wasn’t too sure what happened after that.”

What happened was a 5-2 Sharks win, two days after one of their worst performances of the season, a 4-0 home defeat to St. Louis. San Jose withstood an early push by the visiting Jets but took over the game in the second period, particularly after Ward’s sacrifice.

"That's the commitment we talk about,” Pete DeBoer said. “Taking that hit, making that play, [Meier] scores the goal. We need that. Joel's a guy that brings that to the rink almost every night. That's what it's going to take at this time of year in order to have success."

In a rare afternoon start, the Sharks looked sleepy in the beginning. The Jets were the better team for the first few minutes, but Martin Jones made sure they didn’t get on the board. He made a key stop on a Shawn Matthias one-timer just 1:29 into the first period, and then bailed out David Schlemko on a defensive zone turnover a few minutes later, again denying Matthias.

The Sharks went to the penalty kill after Schlemko’s cross-checking minor at 11:39, but Ward scored 15 seconds after that, picking the corner over Michael Hutchinson for a pretty shorthanded marker. He correctly read a Justin Braun clearing attempt, when Braun rimmed it past Dustin Byfuglien, who couldn’t keep it in at the blue line. 

After that, “just kind of saw glove side and fired it there as quick as I could,” Ward said.

That led to a dominant second period for San Jose. Along with Meier’s goal, Brent Burns scored on a power play and the slumping Jets were noticeably deflated from there.

Jones said the Jets “came out real hard,” but, “that’s pretty much all [my teammates] needed from me today. You can’t really ask for much more than that from the guys. They put up five, and slowed down a pretty fast team.”

Tierney said: “Joner did a great job of keeping us in it and not giving up a goal there and putting us behind. After that, we kind of got it going a bit and started playing our game.”

There was even some late comedy. Trailing 4-1 at the time, Jets coach Paul Maurice decided to take Hutchinson out for an extra attacker. Jones noticed the empty net and was lining up a shot after he retrieved a dump-in. It didn’t go more than a foot in front of him, though, as Mark Scheifele blocked it and slipped it into an empty net.

Jones could be seen grinning through his mask, while Tierney said he was “laughing on the bench.”

“That’s the first time I’ve tried [shooting at an empty net], and probably the last, too,” Jones said.

In total, Monday's result offered quite the change in mood from Saturday’s whipping.

DeBoer said: “I don't think anyone in our room was happy with how last game went. It was a good bounce-back game."

“It was definitely good today to rebound, and get back to winning,” Ward said.

In divided days, Steve Kerr turns to the words of Martin Luther King Jr

In divided days, Steve Kerr turns to the words of Martin Luther King Jr

OAKLAND -- Two hours before tipoff of the most anticipated game of the season, Warriors coach Steve Kerr entered the room for his pregame news conference, seated himself and immediately began a monologue unrelated to basketball.

Kerr took a couple minutes Monday afternoon, prior to Cavaliers vs. Warriors at Oracle Arena, not only to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but also to share a story that provided a glimpse into his family.

“First, I want to wish everybody a happy MLK Day,” Kerr began. “I think about this story every year. My son was five years old. He was in kindergarten and he came home from school a couple days before MLK Day and he had this really sad look on his face. And I said, ‘What’s the matter, buddy?’ He said, 'Well, Monday is Martin Luther King’s birthday, and I didn’t get an invitation.'

“So I hope if there was a party today for any of you, you did get invited.

Warriors-Cavs, featuring the teams that met in each of the past two NBA Finals, is one of nine NBA games -- five of which are nationally televised -- scheduled on MLK Day. The NBA makes a concerted effort to use the national holiday as an opportunity to educate while also entertaining.

“We celebrate the game, we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and his impact and, I have to say, I’m really, really proud to be part of the NBA and proud of (commissioner) Adam Silver’s leadership,” Kerr said. “I’m proud that the league is so progressive in terms of really promoting tolerance and equality -- and they back it up. It is truly from the heart.

“I’m proud of our players for the work they do. And I just want to say thank you for all the people out there who are working toward all those ideals, not only in the league but everywhere -- teachers, mentors, philanthropists, a lot of people out there doing wonderful stuff.”

Asked about significance of MLK Day, as it relates to the America’s contentious political landscape four days before Donald Trump, the most bombastic president-elect in modern times, is inaugurated, Kerr didn’t flinch.

“There’s definitely a divide right now,” he said. “Today is full of significance in terms of reminding everybody to be compassionate, to be empathetic. I was looking at some of Martin Luther King’s quotes this morning. And one of them that I hadn’t seen before that was really simple and to the point was: ‘We may have all come over here on different ships, but we’re now in the same boat.’

“I thought that was really well said. It’s a reminder that we are all products of our environment. Some of us are much more fortunate than others. I know from my own life that there’s no way I’d be sitting here without the family support that I had, the upbringing that I had. There are so many people are left behind.

“And so it’s critical for people to have compassion and have empathy. And I would hope in these times, with so much anger and divide, that we’ll be reminded of that today.”