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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:39 am 
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BALTIMORE -- After the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals expended everything they had in three consecutive spirited games, the neighbouring rivals parted ways knowing they will see each other again in August. Sale Custom Jerseys . And perhaps again after that. Steve Pearce homered and scored twice to help Wei-Yin Chen earn his ninth victory, and the Orioles beat Washington 4-3 on Thursday night for their eighth win in 10 games. Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz both drove in a run for the Orioles, who built a 4-0 lead in the third inning and held on. Baltimore took two of three from the Nationals in this rain-shortened, home-and-home interleague showdown between division leaders. "I personally enjoyed that series a lot, just cause of the proximity and the atmosphere down in D.C.," said Orioles reliever Darren ODay, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth. "Theyre top of the NL. Hopefully we get to play them a few more times, later in the year in October. That would be nice." The Orioles won the opener in Washington, needing 11 innings to do so, before rain postponed Tuesdays game until Aug. 4. The Nationals prevailed on Wednesday before coming up short in the finale. Although the teams are based only 40 miles apart, enthusiasm for the series isnt exactly Mets-Yankees or Cubs-White Sox. But theres still hope. "It was a good series. It was very well put together," losing pitcher Gio Gonzalez said. "It showed that theres a lot of hope for a Beltway Series. They looked good and we looked good. Everyone had some fun." Jayson Werth homered for Washington and Ryan Zimmerman had two hits and an RBI. Chen (9-3) gave up three runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings, walking none and striking out six. The Taiwanese left-hander is 6-1 in 12 starts since May 3, and his nine wins are most on the team. After ODay survived the eighth, Zach Britton got three outs for his 15th save, capping his 22nd consecutive scoreless appearance at home by retiring Werth with a runner on first. At that point, the Orioles and many in crowd of 30,417 breathed a collective sigh of relief. "Thats a very good team," Jones said. "We love the competition, and we love the fact that you never know what could happen in October. You could have a Battle of the Beltway when its a little colder and bring the fans back out." Gonzalez (6-5) allowed three earned runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. His streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings ended when Pearce connected in the first. Gonzalez won his previous three starts without giving up a run and was unbeaten in four starts following a one-month stay on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. "I felt fine," he said. "Its a tough lineup, all the way down to the last guy." Pearce put the Orioles in front for good with a drive to left on a 2-0 pitch. It was his 11th home run, more than his previous three seasons combined. Baltimore added three runs in the third after Gonzalez retired the first two batters. After an RBI double by Jones put runners at second and third, Cruz grounded a run-scoring single in the hole that shortstop Ian Desmond gloved before throwing wildly to third, allowing Jones to score. That ended Washingtons 13-game errorless streak, which matched the teams longest run since the franchise moved from Montreal in 2005. Zimmermans two-out RBI single made it 4-1 in the fourth, and Washington got runners on the corners with two outs in the fifth before Chen struck out Anthony Rendon on three pitches. The Nationals closed to 4-3 in the sixth. After Werth homered on an 0-2 pitch -- his second long ball in two nights -- Zimmerman doubled and Desmond chased Chen with an RBI double off the scoreboard in right field before Tommy Hunter retired Wilson Ramos on a groundout. Ramos later flied out with the bases full in the eighth. NOTES: Desmond got hit on the thumb with a pitch but said he was OK. ... Baltimore optioned RHP Bud Norris to Double-A Bowie and recalled RHP Preston Guilmet from Triple-A Norfolk. Norris pitched Wednesday and wont be needed against until after the All-Star break. ... The Orioles host the New York Yankees in a three-game series before heading into the All-Star break. Miguel Gonzalez (4-5) faces New Yorks Hiroki Kuroda in the opener Friday night. ... Washington closes the first half with a three-game series in Philadelphia. Jordan Zimmermann will start for the Nationals on Friday night. ... Ramos extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games, but teammate Bryce Harper went 0 for 3 and is in a 1-for-20 skid over his last six games. Wholesale Custom Jerseys .com) - The Winnipeg Jets placed defenceman Paul Postma on injured reserve Tuesday. Cheap Custom T-shirts China . - Dolphins safety Louis Delmas has been carted off the field with a right knee injury against the Ravens. http://www.customjerseyschina.com/ . -- Novak Djokovic benefited from an erroneous call and claimed he didnt realize he had broken the rules.TORONTO – It was neither loud, thunderous nor bombastic in the manner of his predecessor, but in his own understated way Brendan Shanahan put his sliding Maple Leafs club on notice. Four days after firing Randy Carlyle, Shanahan told his team in a Friday morning meeting that more of the same wasnt going to be tolerated, that the players in the room had more to give. He wanted it known that management was watching both the good and the bad, watching closely moreover how the group responded to interim head coach, Peter Horachek. Thats the million dollar question, Shanahan said, his voice calm and static despite the apparent urgency of his message to players. Any time there is a coaching change there is an opportunity for players to look at themselves as well. Theres that moment when a coach goes and then you know that the spotlights going to be shined on you. What Shanahan will admittedly get is an opportunity to judge the roster under different leadership – that of Horachek, who will remain in charge until the end of the season. Shanahan will have a chance now in the final 40 games to assess the degree to which familiar troubles of defence and possession were tied to coaching or to a core group of players who have failed in some way or another under the previous two head coaches – Ron Wilson fired three years ago this March. How theyre going to be defined is really up to them at this point, Shanahan said. I also wanted to make it very clear to them that were watching and that were on it. And whether weve seen good things or weve seen some bad things theyre not getting by us, theyre not escaping us. More changes arent out of the question. Trades – big or small – were on the table and that included seemingly anyone. Shanahan said he and the front office wouldnt be afraid to act if progress wasnt discerned or if an opportunity to improve the roster arose otherwise. That would represent a shift from the patient and generally quiet tenure of nearly a year on the job. Shanahan has left the core of the roster intact since he was hired last April. He opted against significant moves last summer following a nosedive out of the playoffs that predated his leadership. Only touch-up moves were made in the offseason, the likes of Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik and Leo Komarov added in free agency. Core players were all kept on board. Firing Carlyle was the first and easier fix, especially in contrast to the difficult complexities and looming decisions of a roster thats overextended at the top and not near good enough. Where does Shanahan turn with the pillars of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf, who are both under contract until at least 2021? Or how about Joffrey Lupul, David Clarkson and Tyler Bozak, none of whom have excelled in the first half? How much of that core is worth salvaging for the long term? Shanahan and his front office team will use the remaining time this season to make those assessments. He said those core players would be judged on the results of the team in the second half and not necessarily on the personal success of any one individual. No player fits such a bill more than Kessel, who is hovering around the top-10 in league scoring despite an underwhelming season on the whole. I expressed it to them that were not satisfied, Shanahan said of his directive to the team. And quite honestly its really about the team performs in how a lot of individuals get rated as well. A different coach will help to determine which pieces, if any, in the current mix function better under different leadership. How does Jake Gardiner, for example, respond to Horachek after a turbulent run under Carlyle? Some problems, like Clarkson, may simply be beyond coaching, but others like Gardiner, Morgan Rielly and Richard Panik may show differently under another coach, one whos known to be a strong communicator and teacher. Gardiner fared well under Wilson, far less so under Carlyle. If I made a mistake with Randy it was a bigger deal than it was with Ron, Gardiner said. Without explicitly taking the since-deposed Carlyle to task, Shanahan did note the need for a better approach toward possessing the puck more and defending less. The Leafs under Carlyle ranked near the bottom of the league in both categories. I do think we need more strategies in all three zones so that we can hang onto the puck more and play with the puck more, he said. That will fall on Horachek for the time being – the earliest returns positive. Shanahan said a further assessment of the coaching staff would come in the offseason, the pool of candidates presumably larger than at the current moment. Shanahan has mostly remained in the weeds in his first front office role, rarely making his voice heard publicly even in key moments. It was Dave Nonis who addressed a puzzling decision to retain Carlyle last May; it was Nonis speaking after a quiet July 1; and then it was Nonis again at the forefront when Carlyle was fired earlier in the week. But there was Shanahan on Friday stepping to the podium and making it known to all that his team had been put on notice. It wasnt quite on the bombastic level of Brian Burke, but it was a rare public display from the man charged with revamping the Leafs. I want to give them the time and the space and the room to go out and tell us who they are and what they are, he said. So far it hasnt been good enough. They know that. The warning is one thing. How players and Shanahan follow through under difficult and unpredictable terrain is another entirely. Five Points 1. Response This was the response Shanahan was looking for, though one game will hardly change minds in the grander scheme of things. Toronto held Columbus to just 20 shots on Friday evening, kept Jonathan Bernier free of heavy danger and held serve in the possession game. They pumped five goals past Sergei Bobrovsky and won for just the third time in the past 11 games. Cody Franson said afterward it was time for the Leafs to grow up and demonstrate such efforts on a consistent basis. Its time to buy in, said Franson. Its time to really come in and compete. Weve played a very rollercoaster-type season to this point and you cant expect to make the playoffs and you cant expect to go deep in the playoffs if you dont become that team that can win games when theyre ahead; that can play defensive hockey against tough teams; that can beat tough teams that work as hard as Columbus does. The vibe was certainly lighter in the winning ddressing room afterward, almost as if a weight had been lifted. Discount Custom Jerseys Online. . There was a sense of pride even in the brand of hockey that emerged in victory. I definitely feel like thats how we need to approach every game, for sure, said Horachek. Its a lot harder to play that way, but thats the way we need to play as a team thats going to be trying to get back to where it needs to be. Winning his first game behind the Leafs bench, Horachek was actually graced with the teams player of the game sweater, an honour thats never gone to the coach before in its brief history. 2. Accountability Franson said Shanahans directive to players on Friday morning was more a push to play better than anything else. It wasnt a threatening meeting, said Franson, though he labeled the Carlyle firing as a definite wake-up call to the group. Theres always a hidden message within moves like that, he said of the decision which saw Carlyle dismissed after fewer than three seasons in Toronto. They dont have to come down here and tell us that were next or anything like that. We understand. We know how the business works. And we know what we have to do within this room in order to put that thought process of being inconsistent to sleep. Thats where we want to get to. We dont want to be that team thats great one week and horrible the next. We want to consistently move up. Accountability, Franson said, had to come from within. Were trying to get to that point where our coaches dont have to say anything, said the 27-year-old, who had a pair of assists in 20 minutes. When a team gets to that point where the coaches dont have to say anything, when the group doesnt need a talking to or knows what we need to do, thats when you start becoming successful and thats when you know guys are really buying in. Tonights definitely a step in that direction. 3. With and Without the Puck Shanahan was predictably disturbed with two key pillars of the Leafs play this season: defence and possession. The message that we are trying to pound home to our players is that you really have to be a lot more sound defensively, he said. Being where we are in goals against, being where we are in shots against, its not acceptable. The Leafs entered Fridays game ranked 25th in goals against and 29th in shots against. In detailing those troubles, Shanahan said improvement was required from the revamped coaching staff – Steve Staios added – noting the need for better strategies to play defence less while keeping the puck more. Toronto has actually fared well in both fashions in recent games, including just 26 shots against to Washington with 55 percent possession in Horacheks debut. Tyler Bozak, who tallied a pair of points in victory Friday, detailed the sources for improvement. Were bumping pucks to the middle more than rimming it around the wall and its letting us get out of our zone cleaner, Bozak said. And also, were spending a lot more time in the offensive zone so that keeps them playing defence. On the biggest point of emphasis under Horachek so far, Bozak added, I think were looking for more puck possession. The more you have the puck the less you have to play defence and we think weve been defending a little too much so thats the main thing. 4. Benefactor The biggest early benefactor of the coaching change may be Richard Panik. Panik was moved onto the Leafs second unit against Columbus, paired with two of the teams higher caliber offensive players in Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk. Now I get the opportunity, Ive got to make the best of it, Panik said before playing a season-high of nearly 18 minutes. I cant just be satisfied now that Im on the second line, now I have to prove I have the ability to play on that line. Panik has certainly earned a longer look. Hes on pace for 16 goals despite playing on the fourth line with limited ice-time for most of the season. Claimed off waivers from Tampa, the 23-year-old has also rightfully been added to the power-play in recent days. Its all about how youre playing, Horachek said before the game. If hes playing hard and hes doing a good job hes going to play more. Hes earned an opportunity to play at a higher role. We want to give everyone whos pushing the envelope like that, whos going to step up, [an opportunity] to play more. Hes got a lot of skill, added Horachek of the one-time second round pick. Hes got skill and we kind of marvel sometimes when we watch some of the things he can do. But all that skill has to be put into a game and theres functions of how we want to play and areas where you dont want to turn pucks over. Hes doing a better job there. 5. Benefactor II Another early and apparent benefactor of the coaching change is Morgan Rielly, who led the Leafs in even-strength ice-time for the second consecutive game. Rielly, who played 22 minutes overall against Columbus, actually set a career-high for minutes in Horacheks debut two nights earlier. He totaled nearly 24 minutes against Washington on Wednesday. Stats-Pack 13 – Number of times the Leafs have allowed 30 shots or fewer this season, including four of the past five games. 17:40 – Ice-time for Richard Panik, a season-high. 2nd – Consecutive game in which the Leafs have allowed a goal on the first shot. 2 – Even-strength points for Tyler Bozak against Columbus. Bozak had five such points in the previous 18 games. 18 – Power-play points for Phil Kessel this season, just a tad behind a career-high of 23. 20:31 – Even-strength ice-time for Morgan Rielly, leading the Leafs. Special Teams Capsule PP: 2-4 Season: 20.7 per cent (9th) PK: 1-2 Season: 82 per cent (13th) Quote of the Night Theres always a hidden message within moves like that. They dont have to come down here and tell us that were next or anything like that. We understand. We know how the business works. And we know what we have to do within this room in order to put that thought process of being inconsistent to sleep. Thats where we want to get to. We dont want to be that team thats great one week and horrible the next. We want to consistently move up. -Cody Franson, on the Randy Carlyle firing. Quote of the Night II If I made a mistake with Randy it was a bigger deal than it was with Ron. -Jake Gardiner, on the differences in his first two NHL head coaches, Randy Carlyle and Ron Wilson. Up Next The Leafs head out on a grueling four-game road trip, beginning Monday night in Anaheim. 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