Ramirez's 2nd HR gives Sox walk-off win over A's


Ramirez's 2nd HR gives Sox walk-off win over A's


CHICAGO (AP) Alexei Ramirez did enough at the plate to help a Chicago White Sox team struggling with its defense lately.Ramirez hit his second homer of the game with two outs in the 10th inning to lift the White Sox to a 6-5 win over the Athletics on Tuesday night. Ramirez's blast came one night after Oakland beat Chicago 2-1 in 10 innings on Kurt Suzuki's extra-inning home run."We needed this win bad," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "After the loss last night, we bounced back and played a great game."Ramirez also hit a three-run shot in the second inning and scored a run after drawing a walk in the sixth.
GUTIERREZ: Cahill, contract leave much to be desired
"I feel really happy with the work I did," Ramirez said through an interpreter. "I'm especially happy that we won the game."Ramirez's offensive heroics helped offset his third error of the season, a bobbled grounder in the fifth."Of course, I'm really upset with myself for making that error, but you think about what you did, correct it, and concentrate more with the bat, which is what I did," said Ramirez.Alex Rios dropped a flyball for an error in the sixth for Chicago's second error of the night. The White Sox have now committed 12 errors in 11 games this season."We're not playing good defense right now," said Guillen.The defensive woes led to fans at U.S. Cellular Field to offer up a Bronx cheer whenever a White Sox outfielder made a catch, a practice Guillen didn't appreciate."If fans are gonna boo, I don't think that's fair," said Guillen. "You don't want to kick a guy when he's down. You want to support him."Chicago reliever Chris Sale (2-0) picked up the win with two shutout innings. Sergio Santos threw two perfect innings in relief, striking out three of the six batters he faced."Everyone has the same mindset," said Sale. "Whenever you get the ball, go out there and do the best you can. My main focus is throwing strikes and get outs."After seeing his bullpen blow Monday's game, Guillen was pleased with the performance of his relievers."The bullpen did a great job," said Guillen. "The way Santos and Sale threw was the key."Daric Barton had four hits and scored a run, and Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a two-run homer for Oakland. Hideki Matsui, who entered the game hitting .182, had three hits, including a double, and drove in two runs.Bobby Cramer (0-1) took the loss for Oakland, which came in having won four of its last five despite scoring a total of just 11 runs. Five runs was an improvement, but the Athletics continued their string of close games. Oakland's last eight games have been decided by a total of 10 runs."It was encouraging to see the way we swung the bat," said Oakland manager Bob Geren. "Matsui looked great, Barton had a heck of a night. All around it looks like the offense is getting it going, waking up a little bit, whatever phrase you want to use. Got to be happy about that."
VIDEO: Bob Geren postgame
Adam Dunn made his return to the Chicago lineup after missing the last six games because of an emergency appendectomy April 6. He went 1 for 4 and drew a walk in five plate appearances.Oakland righty Trevor Cahill escaped the first inning without a run scoring despite allowing a single, a walk and throwing two wild pitches. He wasn't as fortunate in the second.Ramirez hammered his second homer of the season on a hanging breaking pitch to put the White Sox up 3-1. Chicago added another run in the inning on Paul Konerko's grounder, but Cahill settled down after that, retiring six batters in a row.He ran into more trouble in the fifth. Dunn hit a leadoff single before a two-out error by shortstop Andy LaRoche put two runners on with two outs.Cahill threw 4 2-3 innings, allowing six hits, four runs, walking three and striking out three."My bullpen before the game went unusually better than I expected," said Cahill. "Usually I'm pretty bad in the bullpen, but today I was pretty good. I knew I was going to be struggling after that."Jackson couldn't make it out of the fifth, costing him a chance at his third win in three starts even though he departed with the lead."No starter is going to be happy going 4 2-3 innings," said Jackson. "You're not helping the bullpen out. You want to be out there for as long as you can. It's just one of those things you shake off and get ready for the next one."NOTES: SS Cliff Pennington was unavailable for the Athletics because of what Geren called "a little infection of his sweat gland." Geren said his availability is day-to-day. ... Geren said Athletics reliever Michael Wuertz (hamstring) will likely throw a simulated game on Thursday, followed by a start in a minor-league rehab game on Saturday. ... White Sox OF Lastings Milledge cleared waivers on Tuesday and accepted an assignment to the club's Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte. ... LaRoche's throwing error in the fifth snapped Oakland's streak of six-plus games without an error. The Athletics committed an Oakland-record nine errors in their first four games.

Jay Gruden anticipates Kirk Cousins returning to Washington


Jay Gruden anticipates Kirk Cousins returning to Washington

Quarterback Kirk Cousins is, perhaps, the top NFL player scheduled for unrestricted free agency in March.

But if Washington is unable to sign Cousins to a long-term contract before the start of the free-agent signing period, the club appears likely to place the franchise tag on him for the second year in a row.

Washington coach Jay Gruden appeared to confirm that suspicion on Tuesday while speaking to reporters at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

"We totally anticipate Kirk coming back to the Washington Redskins," Gruden said via CSN Mid-Atlantic. "We're excited about parlaying two very good years as the starting quarterback with a third year and continue to watch him grow."

But does Gruden anticipate another team willing the pay the price it would take to acquire Cousins?

If Washington places the franchise tag on Cousins at approximately $24 million for one season, another team could sign him to an long-term offer sheet and pay the price of two first-round draft picks as compensation.

The 49ers – and presumptive head coach Kyle Shanahan -- are expected to be interested in acquiring Cousins. If the cost of two first-round draft picks is considered exorbitant, the 49ers could attempt to negotiate another deal with Washington.

Washington can end any possibility that the 49ers or any other team could acquire Cousins this offseason if they tag him as an exclusive franchise player at a cost expected to be slightly higher than $24 million.

Cousins, who turns 29 in August, started every game the past two seasons for Washington. In 2015, he completed 69.8 percent of his pass attempts while throwing 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for a passer rating of 101.6. Last season, he finished third in the NFL behind Drew Brees and Matt Ryan with 4,917 yards. He averaged 8.1 yards per attempt and had a rating of 97.2.


Falcons C Mack explains what makes Shanahan's offense so effective

Falcons C Mack explains what makes Shanahan's offense so effective

The Atlanta Falcons had the highest scoring offense during the 2016 regular season, averaging 33.8 points per game, and they racked up 6,653 total yards.

In two playoff games, they've scored a combined 80 points.

The architect of that high-powered offense is Kyle Shanahan, who is the presumptive head coach of the 49ers.

So what makes Shanahan's scheme so effective?

Falcons starting center and former Cal Bears star Alex Mack answered that on ESPN's Mike and Mike show on Tuesday.

"He does a really good job of just having a very balanced offense. We want to run outside schemes. we want to run outside zone, we want to be really effective at doing that. And when a team stops you from doing that, when they put people over there, or they slant out or whatever they do to stop that, he has the backup plan," Mack said.

"He knows exactly when they bring that safety down to make it really tough to run outside zone, well that's going to open up some throws later down the field. And then when they put someone out there on the throws, well, there's a bigger cutback lane, so he calls a different run for that. So our offense is really built around being balanced and having an answer for what the defense wants to do to stop us," Mack continued.

Mack, Shanahan and the Falcons are set to put their No. 1 scoring offense to the test against the Patriots' No. 1 scoring defense in Super Bowl 51 in Houston on Feb. 5, 2017.