From Comcast SportsNetSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Cliff Lee could appreciate a career performance even if he walked away from AT&T Park with no win to show for it.Typically, 10 scoreless innings should be more than enough for a victory.Lee and Giants ace Matt Cain combined to throw 19 scoreless innings in San Francisco's 1-0, 11-inning win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night, bringing back memories of those great old righty-lefty showdowns of Juan Marichal and Sandy Koufax.Melky Cabrera hit an RBI single in the 11th inning, ending a thrilling pitchers' duel that seemed as if it might go on all night.Strange that Cain and Lee have only a no-decision to show for their remarkable work."Both guys were absolutely tremendous," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.Cabrera came through against Antonio Bastardo (0-1), who allowed Brandon Belt's one-out single up the middle. Belt then advanced when third baseman Ty Wigginton couldn't control Angel Pagan's grounder.The sellout crowd of 41,860 got treated to a game that lasted just 2 hours, 27 minutes. And it left Lee still searching for his first win of the season after three starts."It was a classic pitcher's duel. It's the first time I ever threw 10 innings. It was neat," Lee said. "I'd rather give up two runs and get the win though. Any time you lose it's disappointing. I had a good changeup and I was throwing my curveballs for strikes. I don't usually do both in the same game. When things are going well I try to work fast. I try to keep a good pace. Everybody likes that. I was told I was done after nine, but I said I could easily pitch another inning. I tried it again after 10 but it didn't happen."The Giants won a third straight series after being swept in three one-run losses to open the year at defending division champion Arizona, while the Phillies dropped their third series in four.Lee's 10 innings were a career high and he became the first Phillies starter to go beyond nine innings since Terry Mulholland on May 8, 1993, against St. Louis. Lee allowed seven hits, struck out seven, didn't walk a batter and threw 81 of his 102 pitches for strikes.And Lee didn't throw his 100th pitch until strike one to Nate Schierholtz with two outs in the 10th."I haven't seen two pitchers pitch that well. What a matchup," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Terrific game by two guys that hooked horns and neither one was giving in."This one marked the second great matchup of aces in three games after Roy Halladay outpitched Tim Lincecum in Philadelphia's 5-2 win Monday night.Both pitchers worked quickly, each allowing only two base runners to reach second in their combined 19 innings."Just nonstop back and forth," Cain said. "Both of us tried to throw a lot of strikes and get guys out. We were both pounding the strike zone. We were through nine before two hours. It's not very often. That's pretty crazy."Carlos Ruiz led off the top of the 11th with a double against Sergio Romo for the Phillies' first extra-base hit of the game and just the second all game on a night nine innings were -- remarkably -- in the books after just 1:50.Ruiz moved to third on a sacrifice by Freddy Galvis, then pinch-hitter Jim Thome batted for Lee and struck out swinging against Javier Lopez.John Mayberry Jr. entered to pinch-hit and Bochy brought in winner Clay Hensley (1-0) as well as Belt to play first in a double-switch. Mayberry grounded out to end the inning."The way he was throwing you wanted to do anything you could to get him the W.' He deserved it," Wigginton said of Lee.Pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez reached on Laynce Nix's fielding error in the bottom of the ninth, but Lee induced the third of four double plays he got against the Giants.Cain dazzled for the second straight start, tossing nine scoreless innings in back-to-back outings for the first time in his career.Coming off a one-hitter in a 5-0 victory over the Pirates in last Friday's home opener in which the only baserunner he allowed was a single to pitcher James McDonald, Cain was nearly as good this time out."Awesome," Lopez said. "That was great. Two starters like that, I haven't seen that in a long time."Manuel mixed things up again, running out his 10th different lineup in the initial 12 games -- but Cain held everybody in check.Cain, who signed a new 127.5 million, six-year contract April 2, issued a one-out walk to Ruiz in the fifth before the right-hander retired the final 13 batters he faced in order before giving way to new closer Santiago Casilla. Cain gave up two hits, struck out four and walked one.Cain went three up, three down in the first on 15 pitches and was through four on 41 pitches, allowing only Galvis' one-out single in the third."That's as good as I've seen. They both threw strikes, pounded the zone and got into a rhythm," Thome said.Notes: Aaron Harang was the last pitcher to go 10 innings, July 23, 2007, with the Reds. Halladay also did it in April that year. ... Cain came in 1-4 with a 4.17 ERA in his previous seven starts vs. Philly. ... The Phillies, who play a four-game series in San Diego starting Thursday, went 23-9 against the NL West last year. ... The Phillies had been 4-2 in their previous six games at AT&T Park, outscoring the Giants 22-12 during that stretch. Philadelphia won three of four here last season for just their fourth series victory in the waterfront ballpark since it opened in 2000.
The Cubs are preparing to roll the dice with Brett Anderson, hoping the talented, frequently injured pitcher can stay healthy and provide insurance for their rotation.
Anderson posted a telling message on his Twitter account on Monday night, hinting at what would be another offseason check mark for the defending World Series champs.
Wheels up to Chicago...I bet it's cold there.— Brett Anderson (@BrettAnderson35) January 23, 2017
The physical for the agreement — first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and MLB Network — won't just be a formality as Anderson underwent back surgery last March and appeared in only four games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.
But Anderson fits on paper as a left-hander who will turn only 29 on Feb. 1 and won't have to carry front-of-the-rotation responsibilities or feel Opening Day urgency on a team with five projected starters.
The Cubs had been willing to gamble around $6 million on Tyson Ross, who recently signed a similarly structured one-year deal with the Texas Rangers as he recovers from surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome.
The calculus would essentially be the same with Anderson. The Cubs have to factor in last year's grueling playoff run into early November, this season's sky-high expectations, the organization's lack of high-end, upper-level pitching prospects and the uncertainty surrounding the 2018 rotation.
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Anderson finished sixth in the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year voting with the Oakland A's, but he's reached the 30-start mark only one other time and never accounted for 200 innings in a single season.
Anderson underwent Tommy John surgery in the middle of the 2011 season, and the injuries piled up from there, dealing with a strained right oblique, a stress fracture in his right foot and a broken left index finger.
Anderson had such a fragile reputation that he accepted the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Dodgers after a strong platform year in 2015 (10-9, 3.69 ERA). The Dodgers only got 11 1/3 innings out of Anderson, who didn't pitch during a playoff run that ended at Wrigley Field in the National League Championship Series.
The Cubs stayed exceptionally healthy while winning 200 games across the last two seasons and need to be prepared in case John Lackey sharply declines at the age of 38 or Mike Montgomery experiences growing pains while transitioning from the bullpen.
Whether or not Anderson is ultimately the answer, the Cubs will be looking to place a sixth starter into their plans.
"I don't know if a six-man rotation on a permanent basis is the wave of the future," team president Theo Epstein said earlier this winter. "But we certainly endorse it on a temporary basis as a nice way to pace guys for the whole season.
"We can get them some rest, whether you do it in April to preserve depth and ease guys into the season, especially after a deep October and November run. Or after the All-Star break in the summer to kind of get through the dog days and give guys a little bit of a breather as you ramp up for the stretch run.
"I think it would be tough to pull off all season long. But it's something that (could certainly work) in the right spot."
A year ago there was hope surrounding the Fire. Hope that general manager Nelson Rodriguez, entering his first offseason with the club, and new coach Veljko Paunovic could spark a turnaround at the club. Those new faces, coupled with an overhauled roster, meant there was hope that things could be better.
Rodriguez and Paunovic had not yet failed with the Fire so there was still that hope that they had a magic touch.
That eroded as the season unfolded and the team’s shortcomings were quickly apparent. The reworked defense seemed to be improved, but the midfield was typically overwhelmed.
Now, after the Fire finished last in Major League Soccer for the second consecutive year, that innocent hope that a new coach and general manager bring is gone. Fans have seen Rodriguez and Paunovic fail and, even though they inherited a team that was not an easy one to turn around, there will be more skepticism.
This year there is hope again, but instead of coming in the form of new management, it comes in the form of accomplished players. Juninho (a three-time MLS All-Star and three-time MLS Cup winner), Dax McCarty (an MLS Best XI selection in 2015) and Nemanja Nikolic (the leading goalscorer in the Polish Ekstraklasa in 2015-16) on paper make the Fire a better team. Can they mesh into a cohesive team that will actually perform better in matches?
“You’d like to think so,” Rodriguez said on Monday at the team’s media day at the PrivateBank Fire Pitch on the North Side. “It’s an inexact science, or at least for me it is. I know others will be more brash and saying it’s all there and all the pieces are together. Until they’re on the field, until they’re in the hotel rooms, until they’re off the field at team meals you never really know.”
Rodriguez did say that this group is “very different” than last year’s.
“You can talk about all these clever ways to change culture, but the best way to have a winning team is to have winners as part of your team,” he said. “With those four guys (including goalkeeper Jorge Bava) at least we’ve added certified winners.”
So with two former MLS All-Stars arriving in central midfield, arguably the team’s biggest weakness last season, and a proven goalscorer, the pieces are there for the Fire to be better. Now it’s up to Paunovic to put the pieces together in a winning way.
“Obviously we have high expectations because we believe we did this job so far in offseason by the acquisitions that we had and the guys that are still to come,” Paunovic said. “It’s going to be a better team, more competitive.”
Even with the additions, the roster isn’t finished yet. Two trialists are in camp with the Fire, right backs Drew Beckie and Boyd Okwuonu. Beckie is a 26-year-old Canadian who played the 2016 season with the Carolina Railhawks in the North American Soccer League. Importantly, Beckie has a green card and would not count against the Fire’s international roster spots.
Okwuonu, 23, was drafted by Real Salt Lake in the second round of last year’s draft but was not retained. He has represented the U.S. at youth levels, including as a part of the Olympic qualifying team last year.
Right back has been an opening on the roster since Rodrigo Ramos’ loan was not renewed and no player has been added to fill that spot yet so those two could be fighting for a contract. Rodriguez said further additions to defense and midfield are still possible.
“Preseason is going to tell us where we have to improve,” Paunovic said. “Of course, theoretically we all know that there are a couple of spots still to reinforce and a couple of spots that we have to improve. For us now during all this time we are open to all the possibilities.”
The roster appears to be better, but even Rodriguez admitted he had hope last year.
“I was confident last year and the results of last year were bitterly disappointing and utterly unexpected by me," he said. "I have to believe our roster is better, whether that roster comes together the way we imagine, time will tell.”