MLB pitcher nearly throws 2nd career no-hitter

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MLB pitcher nearly throws 2nd career no-hitter

From Comcast SportsNet
CHICAGO (AP) -- One thought kept crossing A.J. Burnett's mind as he made his dramatic push for a no-hitter. He wanted it -- badly. Instead, he will have to settle for a close call and maybe the best performance of his career. Burnett pitched a one-hitter, Neil Walker drove in five runs and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Chicago 5-0 on Tuesday night, hours after the Cubs traded ace Ryan Dempster. Burnett started thinking about a no-hitter in the third or fourth inning. "I'm not going to lie," he said. "So, it's one of those things that you want to do, you want to take pride in, but at the same time a lot of luck's got to go into it. I had a lot of great plays behind me. ... Bottom line is it's a W' for us." Burnett just about stole the spotlight after the Cubs traded their best pitcher to Texas just before the non-waiver deadline. His bid for a second career no-hitter and the sixth in the majors this season ended with two outs in the eighth. He had already hit Darwin Barney in the helmet with one out before striking out Luis Valbuena, but his no-hit bid ended at the hands of a rookie when pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas lined a 3-2 pitch to right for a single after two close pitches were called balls. Burnett said he was angry about a 2-2 curve that just missed outside, and he appeared to be yelling at the umpire after the hit. But he struck out David DeJesus with runners on first and third to end the inning. That's probably not much consolation for the veteran, who pitched a wild no-hitter for the Marlins against San Diego on May 12, 2001. He walked nine in that game, two in this one while striking out eight. "I always think about it," he said. "I want to clean that one up. That was a wild one." That a Miami-area native, who was 13-years-old back then, broke it up was a bit of an ironic twist. Not since Sandy Koufax did it to them in September 1965 have the Cubs been no-hit, and the last no-hitter at Wrigley Field came when Milt Pappas pitched one for Chicago against San Diego in September 1972. Burnett sure made it interesting, though. His curve was as sharp as it's ever been, and he just missed the eighth no-hitter in franchise history. "I thought he had a shot," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was just so efficient, pinpoint command. He pitched the left-handers so extremely well tonight. Fastball gloveside, his curveball was sharp for strikes, for chase. Great tempo -- 25 out of 31 first-pitch strikes. The pitch count was in a great place. That's one of the best games I've seen pitched ever." Cubs manager Dale Sveum was impressed, too. "He probably threw 60, 65 curveballs," he said. "Even his fastball, he kept it out of the middle of the plate. We hit a few balls hard. A couple balls without the wind might have been home runs, but he pitched a heck of a game." He retired the first 11 batters before walking Anthony Rizzo, and as the game wore on, the sense that something special was happening filled the old ballpark. There was a loud gasp when Alfonso Soriano sent a drive to deep left-center in the seventh that Andrew McCutchen caught, and first baseman Garrett Jones then made a sliding stop on Bryan LaHair's grounder to end the inning. The Cubs got some relief when Cardenas finally broke through, but even that was tempered by the reality that they got shut down. Cardenas faced Burnett in late May and didn't do so well, going 0-for-3 with two errors in a 1-0 loss. "I remember him and seeing how he was working throughout that game," he said. "When I was able to get that hit, it was great but it was very short-lived because we lost 5-0. ... It's definitely sweet to break up the no-hitter here at our place. That's something you don't want to be a part of." While Burnett cruised along, Casey Coleman had a rough night after being recalled from the minors. Pitching in Dempster's place, he lasted just 4 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and seven hits. Walker quickly put the Cubs ahead in the first when he drove a 2-1 pitch to right for a grand slam -- the second of his career and second at Wrigley Field. He also had a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Burnett's performance overshadowed the big news before the game, with Dempster going to the Rangers for two prospects. The Pirates were a busy bunch, too. They acquired former All-Star first baseman Gaby Sanchez from Florida and sent third baseman Casey McGehee to the Yankees for reliever Chad Qualls. Notes: Along with Coleman, the Cubs also recalled Cardenas and C Welington Castillo from Triple-A Iowa before the game. ... GM Jed Hoyer said it might not be long before Josh Vitters is called up from Triple-A. He was batting .298 with 15 homers. ... In the Sanchez deal, Pittsburgh also got minor league pitcher Kyle Kaminska for minor league outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and the extra draft pick for 2013 that the Pirates won in the competitive balance lottery for financially weaker teams. ... The Pirates recalled RHP Daniel McCutchen from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Brad Lincoln's spot in the bullpen. Lincoln was dealt to Toronto for Travis Snider on Monday.

Costly mistakes, Nolan Reimold's HR send White Sox to 6-3 loss vs. O's

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Costly mistakes, Nolan Reimold's HR send White Sox to 6-3 loss vs. O's

BALTIMORE — The White Sox haven’t given away many games this season, but Friday’s effort qualifies for sure.

Two innings after the defense made several costly errors, Carlos Rodon yielded a three-run homer to Nolan Reimold and the Baltimore Orioles sent the White Sox to a 6-3 loss in front of 19,912 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Reimold’s seventh-inning, opposite-field homer off Rodon broke a 3-all tie and led to a second straight White Sox loss.

Following a defensive breakdown in the fifth that led to three runs, Rodon looked like he had things under control. He cruised through the heart of the Orioles order in the sixth inning and needed only eight pitches to retire the side.

But Baltimore’s bats heated up in a hurry in the seventh. Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy both singled and Reimold jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Rodon and drove it out to right field to put the Orioles ahead 6-3.

Rodon allowed six runs (four earned) and eight hits in seven innings while striking out seven and walking one.

The left-hander had been on cruise control for the game’s first four innings, using a strong slider to efficiently keep the Orioles under wraps. Rodon used only 55 pitches and had only allowed an opposite-field single as the White Sox led 1-0.

But Rodon issued a leadoff walk to Adam Jones in the fifth and Brett Lawrie’s error on Wieters’ potential double play ball put runners on the corners. Still, Rodon induced a grounder to third from Hardy and Jones was caught too far off third base, which led to a rundown and the first out of the inning. An infield single by Reimold then loaded the bases and Jonathan Schoop’s two-run single gave the Orioles a 2-1 advantage. Rodon induced another grounder off Joey Rickard’s bat but Jimmy Rollins’ relay throw wiped out another double play and reached the stands, allowing a third run to score. The Orioles’ rally would have continued had it not been for a perfect throw home by Adam Eaton to nail Rickard on Manny Machado’s two-out single.

The White Sox fought back from the two-run deficit but missed out on a big opportunity in the sixth. Jose Abreu’s one-out RBI single got the White Sox within a run and Todd Frazier walked to load the bases. But Jones raced in to catch Melky Cabrera’s liner and fired a perfect throw home to nail Rollins and keep the Orioles ahead 3-2.

Lawrie wiped out the lead in the seventh, however, with a solo homer off reliever Brad Brach. But the White Sox, who went ahead in the second on Avisail Garcia’s RBI triple, got no further against Brach, Darren O’Day and Zach Britton.

Bears shore up offensive line, select Kansas State's Cody Whitehair

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Bears shore up offensive line, select Kansas State's Cody Whitehair

Happy Birthday, Jay Cutler.

On the day that the Bears’ quarterback turned 33, the Bears used a second-round pick on a QB protector, trading down twice before selecting Kansas State offensive lineman Cody Whitehair with the 56th pick of the draft.

Whitehair, 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, was a four-year starter who has played both right and left tackle, starting all 13 games in 2014 at left tackle and performing well enough to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors as a senior.

The Bears have sounded pleased with Charles Leno at left tackle, backed up by Nick Becton, and signed Bobby Massie in free agency to settle at right tackle, backed up by 2015 sixth-round pick Tayo Fabuluje.

With Whitehair, Massie and signings of guard/centers Ted Lawson and Manny Ramirez, the Bears have set up the potential for nothing short of furious competition for two of the three interior-line positions on offense. Kyle Long has appeared set at right guard but center Hroniss Grasu and left guard Matt Slauson face major position battles, barring a shift of Long or Whitehair to tackle and inflaming the competition there.

Cody Whitehair Chicago Bears NFL Draft Profile

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Cody Whitehair Chicago Bears NFL Draft Profile

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 150 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Cody Whitehair (OL), Kansas St.

6’4” | 301 lbs.

Selection:

2nd Round, 56th overall to Chicago Bears

Scouting Report:

"Many expect Whitehair to be the next tackle to guard transition. Why can’t he succeed at guard? The answer I point to is his wide base that has been and might be an issue against edge rushers with speed. It was the same for Zack Martin. Whitehair has powerful hands and will control you in tight spaces when in proper positioning. Guards can be just as important as tackles." - Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com

Video analysis provided by NBC Sports and Rotoworld NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.