Cubs' valiant comeback falls short

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Cubs' valiant comeback falls short

Roy Halladay threw eight strong innings for his first victory in a month and the Philadelphia Phillies held on for an 8-7 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.Halladay (4-3) hadn't won since April 16, a span of five starts, and had lost three straight decisions to match a career high, but held the Cubs to three runs and scattered seven hits. The two-time Cy Young winner has allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts this season.Chicago's Welington Castillo's stroked a two-out, three-run double in the ninth against Phillies LHP Jake Diekman to close the gap to two runs. Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon came on and allowed an RBI single to Darwin Barney, but got Reed Johnson on a grounder to third for his 11th save of the season.While Halladay ended his modest skid, Cubs starter Chris Volstad (0-6) suffered his 19th straight start without a win. He lasted just two innings, allowing four runs, six hits and three walks. Volstad threw 58 pitches, a total Halladay didn't reach until there was one out in the sixth.Carlos Ruiz had his sixth career four-hit game and drove in three runs as the Phillies won a season-best fifth straight game. Jimmy Rollins had two hits, a walk and scored three runs. Hunter Pence added a two-run single.Philadelphia (20-19) moved over .500 for the first time since winning its season opener.The Cubs may have lost three straight, but Volstad hasn't won since July 10, 2011. He's gone 0-11 during his drought with a 5.40 ERA. His ERA rose to 7.46 for this season and it could have been worse -- the Phillies stranded five runners during his two innings.In addition to the bases-clearing double, Castillo homered and drove in a career-high four runs.Volstad's run support has been the lowest in baseball during his skid among pitchers with at least 15 starts, but his results have been increasingly poor in recent outings. He's allowed 15 runs over his last 17 innings, with 19 hits, eight walks and just four strikeouts.Halladay had lost five of his last six games against Chicago before dominating Thursday's game. He even chipped in with two hits and a run at the plate for his third career multi-hit game.Ruiz leads NL catchers with 27 RBIs and is 9 for 14 over his last four games. He even stole his first base of the season on the back end of a double steal in the first.Starlin Castro hit solo homers and drove in two runs for Chicago. David DeJesus had two hits and a run, extending his hitting streak to nine games.NOTES:
Phillies 2B Chase Utley reported no problems after taking grounders for the first time this season before Wednesday's game. Utley has spent the entire season on the disabled list because of patella tendinitis in his right knee. No timetable has been established for his return. . C Geovany Soto was a late scratch from the Cubs' lineup due left knee inflammation and was replaced by Castillo. Soto is listed as day-to-day. . Before the game, the Cubs selected the contract of RHP Blake Parker from Triple-A Iowa and optioned LHP Scott Maine to Iowa. Parker was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in the minors and converted all five of his save opportunities. He made his debut in Thursday's game, striking out Ty Wigginton to begin his big-league career, but allowed three unearned runs on his own throwing error in the eighth. . Phillies 3B Placido Polanco sat out with a bruised left knee. He left Wednesday's game after fouling a pitch off his leg, something he's done several times over the last week.

Alex Avila on White Sox: 'Come back tomorrow and make something happen'

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Alex Avila on White Sox: 'Come back tomorrow and make something happen'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — They may be reeling from two awful losses, but Alex Avila expects he won’t see any let up from his White Sox teammates.

He’d better not.

Whereas they should be in position to close out a sweep of the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, the White Sox are trying to avoid one after consecutive stunning losses, including allowing seven runs in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday in an 8-7 loss.

Asked how they have to respond, the veteran catcher said his White Sox teammates have little choice — play hard or don’t bother showing up.

“The way you stop it is you come back tomorrow and make something happen,” Avila said. “They’re not going to feel bad for us. So you can’t feel sorry for yourself. It’s an extremely tough loss for sure. That’s a game we should have won. There’s been a few games we should have won. The way we’ve been playing have given a lot of people doubt.

“But guys in here, if they have any shred of doubt in their mind of what they can do, even though we’re struggling, don’t even come. No one’s going to feel sorry for you in this game. Even if you’re struggling, battle your ass off. There’s no room for feeling sorry for yourself and doubting your ability and your team’s ability. We’re going through a tough two-week stretch. The good thing is it’s right now at the end of May here. Try to finish these last few games in May strong and take it into June and see if we can make a better month out of it.”

The White Sox appeared to respond well to Friday’s game, one in which they blew a four-run lead, until the bullpen melted down for a second straight day. Even though none of their big run producers came through, the White Sox pulled ahead 7-1 on the strength of home runs by Tyler Saladino and Avisail Garcia.

But then the impossible happened and the Royals rallied to win a game in which their win probability was 0.1 percent after David Robertson struck out Paulo Orlando to start the ninth inning. Robertson only recorded one more out as he allowed six runs and Tommy Kahnle allowed another in an 8-7 loss.

“I’m not surprised or satisfied the way our team has responded to tough losses,” Avila said. “I expect it. No matter what the situation was the game before, I expect each guy in here to be prepared the very next day. If they’re not, then there’s an issue. Guys have been coming to play every single day and doing their homework and getting prepared for each game. If they weren’t, it’d be an issue. But guys have been doing that and we’re kind of going through one of those spells where instead of finding ways to win, we’re finding ways to lose games. Most teams will go through it or have gone through it. I know the first month we were playing great and the Royals weren’t playing well, the Tigers weren’t playing well and Cleveland wasn’t playing well. It was like, ‘Well, we’re going to run away with it,’ and flipped the script. Things can change pretty quickly over the course of a week or two weeks, even a month. That’s my point on why you have to come and make sure you’re prepared — that doubt in your mind about the day before is gone and you have to be ready no matter what because nobody is going to feel sorry for you.”

Preview: White Sox-Royals today on CSN

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Preview: White Sox-Royals today on CSN

 

 

The White Sox take on the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Chris Sale (9-1, 2.26) vs. Edinson Volquez (5-4, 3.67)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with White Sox Pulse.

 

David Accam is back and that's good for the Fire

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David Accam is back and that's good for the Fire

David Accam is the Chicago Fire's best player and when he plays the team is better.

While that statement should be obvious to anyone who has watched the Fire on a regular basis this year, it is worth mentioning because of how much time Accam has missed this season.

Accam played a starring role in the team's 4-3 loss in the season opener. He had a goal and an assist. The next match he scored early in Orlando before the Fire were forced to defend while playing down a man due to a red card.

Then he got injured. Accam missed six games and the Fire scored four goals in those matches without him. After making two abbreviated appearances during the team's recent road trip, he was unable to play last week at home due to a suspension.

“It’s difficult for me because I’ve been through a lot in the last two months," Accam said. "For me I’m just happy to be on the pitch now and playing. It will take some time for me to get into match fitness and start going, but I’m happy with my performance today.”

Accam scored in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Portland. It was his first start at home since his barnstorming season debut back on March 6. It was also his first 90-minute outing since March 11.

Kennedy Igboananike assisted on the goal. The partnership in the attack between Igboananike and Accam is one the Fire needs to become a fine-tuned weapon for the team to have a successful season.

“I think what we are looking for is to have associations in the team and the two of them work very good together," coach Veljko Paunovic said. "We could see that in the first game when David was fit, also in the second game until we had the (red card). Since then David was injured, but David is very important. Not only because of his individual qualities, but he improves our team in how our team feels better on the field and offensively with more potential."

Accam had five shots, two on goal, and Igboananike had four shots, three on goal. Accam thinks the team is starting to improve its on-field chemistry.

“I think so, especially in the front three," the Ghanaian said. "We are creating chances. Last week we created a lot of chances and today, too.

“In the last two games we started to feel the way we wanted to play and for me it’s been much better. We conceded one goal in the last three games and we created I think more than five clear chances so for me it’s getting better.”