See who won All-Star Game's "Final Vote"


See who won All-Star Game's "Final Vote"

From Comcast SportsNet
CHICAGO (AP) -- Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish and St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese are headed to the All-Star game after fans voted them into next week's showcase in Kansas City. "I feel very good," Darvish said Thursday through an interpreter. "I know the way that I got selected was a vote by the fans, so I appreciate all the fans who voted for me. I'm looking forward to it." Darvish is the eighth Rangers player on the American League team managed by Texas' Ron Washington. He beat out four other pitchers: Chicago's Jake Peavy, Baltimore's Jason Hammel, Kansas City's Jonathan Broxton and the Angels' Ernesto Frieri. "It just wasn't meant to be," said Peavy, who was supported by an aggressive marketing campaign by the White Sox. "We knew it's hard to outvote a country." Freese emerged from a National League field that included Atlanta outfielder Michael Bourn, Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper and Arizona second baseman Aaron Hill. "I'm happy, I'm thrilled," Freese said before St. Louis hosted the Rockies on Thursday. "Thank you Cardinal Nation. Unbelievable support from friends, family and Cardinals fans." Darvish has made a smooth adjustment to the major leagues after the Rangers committed more than 107 million to bring him to the U.S. The 25-year-old right-hander got a guaranteed 56 million, six-year contract and Texas also paid a record 51.7 million posting bid to his team in Japan. Darvish responded by going 6-1 with a 2.60 ERA in his first eight starts. The rookie leveled off a bit but is 10-5 with a 3.59 ERA for the only team in the majors with 50 wins. And now he's into his first major league All-Star game. "I don't know where I stand amongst the team, I just want to stay quiet and stay out of the way of the players, not be a burden to them," he said. "I'll have (Rangers teammate) Matt Harrison act as my older brother, I'll just hide behind him all day." Atlanta's Chipper Jones had been in the running for the NL spot before he was chosen as an injury replacement for Matt Kemp. Online voting for the final spots ended Thursday.

Rewind: Power play paces Sharks in strange night at the Tank

Rewind: Power play paces Sharks in strange night at the Tank

SAN JOSE – First, there was a delay in the Sharks-Blue Jackets game when the lights suddenly went out late in the second period. Another interruption occurred in the third, when the referees decided to spend more time on an offside challenge that overturned a Brenden Dillon goal than the Warren Commission did on the Zapruder film.

In a few months, those occurrences may end up being more notable to many in the SAP Center crowd than the actual game result, a 3-1 Sharks win on Thursday night. Inside the home dressing room, though, it was a pair of goals by the second power play unit and a strong performance by goalie Martin Jones that will be how they remember this one.

Joonas Donskoi’s first period goal with Markus Nutivaara in the box staked the Sharks a 1-0 lead, while Tomas Hertl’s marker in the third period with Jack Johnson serving a tripping minor increased it to 2-0. Hertl added a late empty netter to seal it, after Scott Hartnell brought the Blue Jackets to within one with less then three minutes to go.

It was the second straight game the Sharks didn’t get an even strength goal in regulation (other than the empty-netter), yet found a way. They beat Anaheim in three-on-three overtime on Tuesday, 2-1.

“Right now the five-on-five goals are hard to come by,” Pete DeBoer said. “We're creating chances, but the power play won us the game tonight." 

Hertl said: “Exciting night for us, the second [power play unit], because we scored two goals.”

The newest addition to that unit, defenseman David Schlemko, assisted on each of the first two goals. He spotted Donskoi wide open in the circle on the first, and got a secondary helper on Hertl’s first goal.

Although they were his first two points of the season, Schlemko is quickly proving to be the second-most talented offensive defenseman on the team. He’s managed 20 shots on goal through eight games – exactly half of Burns’ 40, but nearly double Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s 11.

“It's nice to get [the points] of the way,” he said. “I feel like I've been getting lots of pucks to the net, so it's nice to see a couple go in finally."

Donskoi figured Schlemko would spot him all alone standing on the faceoff dot.

“He's pretty good with the puck, so I think he just saw me,” Donskoi said. “It's good to have a guy like that."

It’s also good to have a guy like Jones, who made some key saves early on the penalty kill and preserved the lead while Sergei Bobrovsky was making some potentially game-changing stops on the other end. Jones’ 24 saves lowered his goals-against average to 2.32, and upped his save percentage to .908.

“We had quite a few grade-A chances, [Bobrovsky] kept them in it pretty good,” said Joel Ward, who was stopped on an early second period breakaway. “Obviously Jonesy has been there for us since day one. It’s good that he’s feeling the groove, we’ve just got to put some pucks in.”

Neither Jones nor his teammates let the odd circumstances, including Dillon’s apparent goal that was nullified after a seven-minute delay in the third period of a 1-0 game, get to them. 

“There was a couple things there out of our control, but I thought considering that, we stuck with it and found a way,” DeBoer said.

Ward said: “We’ve got a good group and a mature group, and we know how to handle situations.”

The Sharks are also gaining momentum at home with their third win in as many tries, even if their own building doesn’t want to cooperate all the time with pesky details like keeping the ice surface brightened.

“With [the lights going off] and the disallowed goal it felt like a triple overtime type of game,” Ward said. “Haven’t seen that before, but hopefully since we won, maybe it happens again and we can capitalize.”

Schlemko wasn’t here last season, but he heard all about the team’s struggles at SAP Center when it was the only playoff team that didn’t win at least half of its home games (18-20-3).

“I think we wanted to clean up the home record and have teams know it's going to be a tough night coming in here,” he said. “It's been a pretty good start."

Efforts of Darnold, Jones lead USC over Cal


Efforts of Darnold, Jones lead USC over Cal


LOS ANGELES -- Sam Darnold threw five touchdowns passes, Ronald Jones rushed for a career-high 223 yards and Southern California downed California 45-24 on Thursday night.

Darnold threw for 231 yards, with Darreus Rogers making six catches for a career-high 97 yards, as the Trojans rolled up a season-high 629 yards of total offense. Aca'Cedric Ware contributed a career-high 130 yards rushing to USC's total of 398.

USC (5-3, 4-2 Pac-12) scored on three of its first four possessions, with Darnold finding Rogers, Jones and Deontay Burnettfor touchdowns. Rogers added a second touchdown catch with 28 seconds left, but two fumbles by Darnold allowed Cal (4-4, 2-3) to maintain a modicum of hope despite allowing 451 yards on 46 plays in the first half.

Webb threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns, throwing a ball up for grabs that was intercepted by safety Marvell Tell in the first quarter. Webb also rushed for a touchdown in the third quarter that cut USC's lead to 28-17 before Jones had a 37-yard touchdown run and Daniel Imatorbhebhe caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Darnold.

Jones had 149 yards on eight first-half carries, as the sophomore broke out of a funk with starter Justin Davis (ankle) not in uniform.


Cal: The Bears have now lost 13 in a row to the Trojans since handing Pete Carroll's 2003 national championship team its only loss in triple overtime that season. Cal was always going to have trouble defending Darnold and USC's plethora of skill players, and that task was even tougher with a short week to prepare and mounting injuries. But with three home games left, Cal has a good chance at becoming bowl eligible if it can maintain its strong play in Strawberry Canyon.

USC: The Trojans are white-hot, with Darnold leading the way. The freshman quarterback has now thrown 16 touchdown passes in leading USC to four consecutive wins, playing with a fearlessness and fire that the team was missing at the start of the season, though his ball security must improve. The Trojans are more than capable of turning the conference race upside down when they travel to No. 4 Washington on Nov. 12.


Cal: The Bears host the Huskies on Nov. 5, a potential trap game for Washington.

USC: The Trojans host faltering Oregon on Nov. 5, seeking their first five-game winning streak since 2013.