White Sox pitcher drilled in head by line drive

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White Sox pitcher drilled in head by line drive

From Comcast SportsNet Friday, August 19, 2011
CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox lost a key game against another AL Central contender, and they were feeling pretty lucky. White Sox starter Phil Humber was hit in the face by Kosuke Fukudome's liner in the second inning of a 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, sending a chill through the ballpark. "I saw it, but a little too late though," Humber said. "I'm not as quick as I thought." Humber was struck with one out. He fell to the ground as the ball bounded back to catcher Flowers. "I was running to the dugout looking for towels, that's what my first impression was," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "There's a lot of things that go through your mind, just how lucky we are and how lucky he is." Humber stood up immediately after the play ended and appeared to be alert as the club's medical staff checked on him, but was removed after a short delay. He lobbied to remain in the game. "When you get hit like that in that spot, it was unfair to leave him in there to try to pitch," Guillen said. "I think we did the right thing to get him out of there." Humber was struck above the right eye and was removed as a precautionary measure. He will evaluated again on Friday, when it likely will be determined if he can make his next start. "As of right now, I feel good," Humber said. "Just got a little pop knot on my forehead. Other than that, I feel very fortunate. "My wife was here, so obviously it's upsetting for her. She told me the fans were very supportive and had a lot of kind things to say to her, so I appreciate that." Justin Masterson pitched six effective innings and Kosuke Fukudome had a tiebreaking RBI triple for Cleveland, which pulled within 1 1-2 games of idle Detroit for the division lead. Matt LaPorta hit a two-run homer. The Tribe opens a three-game series against the Tigers on Friday. "It was good," Masterson said. "It was a much needed series. We wanted to take this final game. That's kind of been our motto to try and win each series as we go out." Paul Konerko homered for the White Sox. Konerko, Adam Dunn and Omar Vizquel each had two hits, and Tyler Flowers singled in a run. Masterson (10-7) allowed two runs and seven hits, struck out two and walked three. The 6-foot-6 right-hander improved to 2-2 with a 1.61 ERA in four starts against the White Sox this season. The Indians won the last two games of their three-game series against the White Sox after losing seven of their first eight games against Chicago this season. "They play good baseball against us," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "They hit us around pretty good at the beginning of the year and they have played their best baseball against us." The White Sox loaded the bases with two out in the eighth, but Pestano struck out Gordon Beckham to end the inning. Beckham is 3 for 24 over his last six games, dropping his average to .238. It was an ugly night for Beckham, who bounced into a fielder's choice with a runner on to end the second, lined softly to the pitcher with two on to end the fourth, struck out looking with two on to end the sixth. "I am worried about him because he is chasing a lot of pitches," Guillen said. "When you're a hitter and you're (chasing) bad pitches, you're going to put yourself in the hole. I know it's not easy. I played this game before. I went through it. I was swinging at everything in my career as a player. But you have to lay off the high fastball." Konerko went deep in the third to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. Konerko's 28th homer was just the sixth off Masterson in 173 innings this season. Flowers' RBI single in the fourth tied it at 2. He also had three walks and has reached base 11 times in over his last four starts in place of injured catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Dunn singled twice for his first two-hit game since July 22. Dunn is hitting .333 in 36 at-bats against the Indians this season. He's hitting .149 against everybody else. The White Sox (61-62) dropped under .500 one night after missing out on a chance to leap over Cleveland in second place. After the game, though, everyone's thoughts were still with Humber. "That ball hit him in the right spot, put it that way," Guillen said. "That ball could have been a couple of inches down and it could have been very, very ugly." NOTES: Indians rookie Jason Kipnis was expected to return to the lineup after missing three games with right side soreness, but was a late scratch because of tightness in his right hamstring. He was replaced at second base by Jason Donald. ... Josh Tomlin will start Friday against Detroit's Max Scherzer. Tomlin has gone at least five innings in each of his first 36 career starts, the only big league pitcher to do that since 1919. ... The White Sox next play a three-game weekend series against AL West-leading Texas. Matt Harrison will face Chicago's Jake Peavy in the opener. . Konerko's home run was the 393rd of his career, tying Jim Edmonds for 52nd place. ... OF Austin Kearns officially cleared waivers and was released outright by the Indians.

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

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AP

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Bruce Arena's return as U.S. coach reignited American confidence, and his players responded with an emphatic rebound in World Cup qualifying.

Clint Dempsey returned from an irregular heartbeat to score his second international hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others, and the U.S. routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get right back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth.

Surprise starter Sebastian Lletget got his first international goal in the fifth minute after Pulisic's shot deflected off the goalkeeper, Michael Bradley doubled the lead in the 27th and Dempsey scored off Pulisic's perfectly weighted chip in the 32nd.

Finding room to maneuver in a central midfield role, Pulisic made it 4-0 just 12 seconds into the second half with his fourth international goal, Dempsey rounded the keeper to score following a Pulisic feed in the 49th, and Dempsey got another on a 23-yard free kick in the 54th. With 55 international goals, Dempsey moved within two of Landon Donovan's American record.

In its first competitive match since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. moved from last to fourth in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, tied at three points with Honduras but ahead on goal difference, Mexico leads with seven points, followed by Costa Rica with six and Panama with four.

The top three nations qualify for next year's tournament in Russia, and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff. With a victory at Panama on Tuesday, the Americans could move into the top three.

The U.S. had never before won a hexagonal game by more than three goals.

And oh how the American Outlaws and others among the lively home crowd loved every second of this long-awaited showing, chanting "Michael Bradley!" and "Demp-sey! Demp-sey!" through the Bay Area rain and cool March air.

Then, it was "Bruce Arena! Bruce Arena!"

Gloom descended upon the Americans in November when they opened the hexagonal with a 2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 wipeout at Costa Rica. The defeats caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Klinsmann, who had coached the Americans since 2011, and bring back Arena, who lead the team from 1998-2006.

Dempsey, 34 and hoping to reach a fourth World Cup, was sidelined from August until this month by an irregular heartbeat and likely was starting only because of injuries to Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris. Tim Howard, the Americans' 38-year-old goalkeeper, got the shutout after returning only two weeks ago from a leg injury sustained in the loss to Mexico.

Geoff Cameron, back from a knee strain that had sidelined him for fourth months, was shifted to right back from central defense because of injuries to others, and Jorge Villafana was inserted on the left.

But there were yet more injuries. Lletget hurt his left ankle on Ever Alvarado's tackle and was replaced in the 18th minute, and defender John Brooks was stretchered off the field, hand over his face, in the 69th due to dehydration.

From the opening whistle, the U.S. played more aggressively than in the latter years of Klinsmann's reign. Arena revamped the midfield, giving a prominent role to Pulisic, who last week became the youngest American to score in the Champions League. He inserted Lletget and Nagbe, who were largely overlooked by Klinsmann last year, on the flanks.

The U.S. went ahead when Jozy Altidore picked up a loose ball and on his second try poked the ball ahead to Pulisic. His left-footed shot that went off goalkeeper Donis Escobar, and Lletget tapped in the ball with his right foot from 2 yards.

Bradley, given his debut by Arena in 2006, doubled the lead when he took a pass from Alejando Bedoya, cut to his left, took four touches and cut the ball back to beat Escobar with one-hopper from about 25 yards.

Showing poise beyond his years, Pulisic created the third goal when he lofted a pass to Dempsey, who allowed the ball of bounce off his right shoulder. Dempsey held off Henry Figueroa and while falling scored with his right foot from 8 yards.

Sharks blowout loss to Stars includes 'a month's worth of mistakes'

Sharks blowout loss to Stars includes 'a month's worth of mistakes'

DALLAS – In just two-and-a-half weeks, the Sharks will have the opportunity to defend their Western Conference title when the Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway.

(Take a deep breath. They won’t fall out of playoff position.)

Still, it’s a terrible time for them to be playing their worst hockey of the season, and going through the foulest stretch of coach Pete DeBoer’s two-year tenure.

The Sharks were flat-out embarrassed by the Stars on Friday night in their fifth straight regulation defeat, 6-1 in Dallas, showing no signs of life for the duration. Not even a verbal tongue-lashing from their normally reserved head coach in full view of the cameras in the second period got their motors going.

How do you explain this one, Joe Pavelski?

“I don’t know, good question,” said the captain. “There’s a commitment that needs to be there to win in this league right now consistently. Right now, we’re searching for that.”

DeBoer, too, was puzzled.

“You have a handful of those a year where nothing goes right and nobody’s got any kind of legs or energy,” he said. “It was one of those nights. I don’t have an explanation for it. I felt we prepared the right way the last couple days. I thought we felt pretty good about ourselves. Then, the puck dropped and everything went bad.”

It was evident early that the Sharks were off, as they couldn’t figure out a way to get the puck through the neutral zone for the first several shifts and didn’t register a shot on goal until 7:17 into the first period. The first of three Adam Cracknell goals – yes, Adam Cracknell – had them trailing 1-0 after the opening frame.

Traditionally, the Sharks would have found a way to jolt themselves to life at the intermission, as it was so plainly obvious that they didn’t seem focused or driven over the first 20 minutes.

This was a game, too, in which they were healthier, getting Jannik Hansen back in the lineup, and more rested than the Stars, who were playing their second game in as many nights while San Jose was coming off a rare two-day break. Furthermore, the Sharks have seen a nine-point lead in the Pacific Division evaporate to just two points headed into Friday’s action. Motivation should have been easy against a team that shut them out on Monday, to boot.

But the mental mistakes to start the second were even worse. Brett Ritchie was left alone by Brenden Dillon for a goal just 1:58 into the middle frame, and at 5:19, Brent Burns was caught staring at the puck off of a faceoff as Jamie Benn got free in front of the net to push the Dallas lead to 3-0. DeBoer's timeout and screaming session after that third goal did nothing, as Dallas got two more goals off of the rush and another on a breakaway by Cracknell after a gift turnover by goalie Aaron Dell before the night was through.

“That’s a month worth of mistakes in one night, so hopefully we get it out of the system,” DeBoer said.

The defensive miscues should be easily correctable, according to Dillon.

“If you look at a good chunk of those goals, we kind of know whether it was d-zone coverage, or off the rush, or just communicating with one another,” he said. “Stuff that’s not like us. I think if we watched the other 70 games this year, those kind of things don’t happen.”

Of course, the defensive errors become all the more glaring when a team isn’t scoring, either. The Sharks managed just one Joe Thornton power play goal, and have just five total goals in their last five games.

That part of their game wasn’t any better against Dallas than their defense, as Kari Lehtonen had a relatively tranquil evening.

“We have a lot of guys that are going through some tough times right now and struggling to get on the scoresheet,” Logan Couture said. “We're going to need all of those guys to bring more. That's from our top guys, including myself and on down. We need to do more offensively. Score goals, and do more defensively, as well.”

They have just eight more games to figure it all out.

“It’s not ideal, by any means,” Dillon said. “I think it’s maybe a bit of a wakeup call for us. … You can’t take a night off and you have to be emotionally invested. You’ve got to take every shift as hard as you possibly can.”

* * *

DeBoer had no update on Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who didn't play in the third period. The defenseman was seen leaving the dressing room under his own power, but looked to be walking a bit gingerly.