Crisp robbed of go-ahead HR, A's fall to ChiSox


Crisp robbed of go-ahead HR, A's fall to ChiSox


CHICAGO (AP) Brent Lillibridge is fast becoming a favorite in Chicago.Lillibridge helped make John Danks a winner with a homer-saving catch in the eighth inning, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 3-2 on Saturday night.Lillibridge robbed Oakland's Coco Crisp with a leaping catch above the wall. With Daric Barton on second and one out in the eighth, Crisp lofted a flyball deep to left-center. Lillibridge retreated to the wall, leaped and snared Crisp's drive before it cleared the fence."I'm speechless," Danks said. "I really am. That was unbelievable. Coco hit it on the barrel. When he hit it, I thought it was halfway up the concourse. Luckily the weather kind of knocked it down. Brent made a hell of a play out there."That turned out to be the last batter Danks (2-8) faced. He allowed just four hits, struck out four and walked two in 7 2-3 innings. He won his second straight start after going winless in his first 11 starts to start the season."I don't want to overshadow what John did tonight," Lillibridge said. "He was outstanding tonight. He gave us a chance. It was a lot of fun to do something to impact that game."Modesty aside, Lillibridge's teammates recognize his key contributions, coming at several different positions."Obviously Paul (Konerko), Alexei (Ramirez) and (Carlos) Quentin are having just huge years, but you have to think of him as a team MVP at this point," Danks said. "We were all talking among ourselves, you have to kind of find him a spot in the field everyday."Lillibridge, an infielder in the minor leagues, has started at four different positions this season, including all three outfield spots. In addition to his defense, he's hitting .273 with seven homers in 88 at-bats. He walked twice, stole a base and scored a run on Saturday."This kid is the best outfielder we have," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said."He can play center field, left field, right field. Wherever we decide to plug him, it comes very easy to him now."Ramon Castro hit his third homer of the season, a solo shot in the fourth. Alex Rios had two hits and a walk for Chicago, his third straight game with two hits.Athletics starter Gio Gonzalez (5-5) is winless in his last five starts. Oakland issued nine walks, has lost 11 of 12 games and fell to 1-2 under interim manager Bob Melvin."I don't have much history, but maybe not (Gonzalez's) best command," Melvin said. "He certainly battled and made pitches when he needed to. "Chicago's Jesse Crain worked 1 1-3 hitless innings, picking up his first save one night after White Sox closer Sergio Santos blew a two-run, ninth-inning lead in Oakland's 7-5 win on Friday."Danks pitched very well," Guillen said. "Crain came out and closed the game. Outstanding by everyone. Great job coming back after last night's game."Gonzalez was wild during most of his 115-pitch outing. He allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings, five hits, a career-high seven walks, hit a batter, committed a balk and threw two wild pitches."Maybe one walk changed the game, that was basically it," Gonzalez said. "Other than that, got some groundball double-plays, made some things happen. It wasn't pretty, but it kept the team in the game."Gonzalez was removed with one out in the fifth, during which Chicago scored the go-ahead run without the benefit of a hit. Lillibridge drew a one-out walk, then stole second and went to third on Kurt Suzuki's throwing error.Gonzalez was replaced by reliever Brad Ziegler with a 1-0 count on Ramirez, who walked. Quentin hit a comebacker to Ziegler, who threw wide to second for an error, allowing Lillibridge to score and put Chicago ahead 3-2."We actually got the groundball, he was just a little quick going to second base," Melvin said. "We were just a little sloppy in the field. I will say, to an extent, the balls are pretty wet. Both sides have to play in it. When you make three errors, you don't win a lot of games."Danks held the Athletics hitless through the first three innings, allowing just two walks. Cliff Pennington led off the fourth with Oakland's first hit, a single. He stole second and scored on Josh Willingham's single. Pennington just beat the throw of Lillibridge.That tied the score at 1, but Castro broke the deadlock with a leadoff homer in the bottom half of the fourth.Oakland knotted the game in the sixth. Crisp doubled just inside the third-base line to lead off, went to second on Pennington's sacrifice and scored on Hideki Matsui's sacrifice fly to right.Gonzalez's control problems led to Chicago's first run in the third, when Ramirez scored the first run on a wild pitch.The White Sox stranded 12 runners , the one negative on a night Chicago closed within 4 12 games of first in the AL Central."We said all along we're a good team," Danks said. "I think wholeheartedly before this is said and done, we're going to be in the middle of it. It's going to be a fun summer."NOTES: Guillen told the media before Saturday's contest that he's in favor of the proposal for baseball to add an additional wild-card team in each league, saying "it'd be great for baseball." Guillen said that he'd like to give Santos a couple of days off after he threw 65 pitches over his last two outings and blew a save in Friday's 7-5 loss to Oakland. Guillen added that he still didn't want to label Santos as his closer even though "he's the one we've been using a lot." Konerko singled in the fifth, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.

Altidore, Dempsey lead US past Costa Rica, into Gold Cup final at Levi's


Altidore, Dempsey lead US past Costa Rica, into Gold Cup final at Levi's


ARLINGTON, Texas — Clint Dempsey fed Jozy Altidore for the go-ahead goal, then scored on a free kick to match Landon Donovan’s American record with his 57th international goal and lead the United States over Costa Rica 2-0 Saturday night and into the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship game.

Playing in his home state of Texas, the 34-year-old Dempsey entered in the 66th minute and made a perfectly timed through pass six minutes later that allowed Altidore to break in alone and beat Patrick Pemberton with a left-footed shot from 10 yards.

Dempsey doubled the lead in the 82nd minute with a 27-yard shot that went around a four-man defensive wall and got past Pemberton on two bounces.

“I saw the keeper cheating a little bit, and it went in,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey has 136 international appearances, trailing only Cobi Jones (164) and Donovan (157) among American players. The assist was his 20th for the national team.

“Coming back from two heart procedures, being able to still play at this level,” Dempsey said in his Texas twang, “living a dream. So I’m happy.”

Trying for their sixth Gold Cup title and first since 2013, the Americans play Mexico or Jamaica in the final on Wednesday at Santa Clara, California.

The U.S. improved to 8-0-5 since Bruce Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann in November and returned for a second stint as national team coach. Arena can become the first coach to win three Gold Cup titles following championships in 2002 and 2005.

Tim Howard got his second straight shutout, making key saves on Marco Urena in the 37th and 71st minutes.

After the second save, Dempsey took a pass from Darlington Nagbe in the center circle, made a cut, and took three touches as he sprinted toward goal. Altidore one-timed a shot for his first national team goal since September and ripped off his No. 27 jersey in a wild celebration, earning a yellow card.

Dempsey’s goal sealed the win, putting the U.S. back in the championship after a shocking semifinal loss to Jamaica two years ago. He was playing for the first time in AT&T Stadium, the $1.2 billion home stadium of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys that is about 180 miles from his hometown of Nacogdoches.

“Congratulations, Clint,” Donovan said while working on the Fox telecast of the game. “Feel free to stop now, we’ll share it together.”

After starting in Wednesday’s quarterfinal win over El Salvador, Dempsey moved to a reserve role against the Ticos. While the U.S. inserted five new starters in a roster rotation, Costa Rica went with the same 11 players who started in Wednesday’s win against Panama.

Costa Rica routed the U.S. 4-0 at home in a World Cup qualifier in November, the final game before Klinsmann was fired and Arena was brought back. And up ahead is another matchup, a qualifier on Sept. 1 at Harrison, New Jersey.

Morris, one of the new starters, hit a post just 11 seconds in.

Just before kickoff, El Salvador defender Henry Romero was suspended for his nation’s next six competitive matches and midfielder Darwin Ceren for the next three, those penalties coming three days after Romero bit Altidore and Ceren bit Omar Gonzalez during the quarterfinal. The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football said the discipline was issued by the Gold Cup disciplinary committee for “anti-sporting behavior.”

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory


NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel CoulombeJay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Jose Reyes tripled twice.

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy - hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous start, a win against Cleveland.

Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless inning to win for the second straight day.

With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.

Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.

Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.