Subway Series ends in dramatic fashion

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Subway Series ends in dramatic fashion

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Russell Martin and the homer-happy New York Yankees appeared a little out of practice when it came to celebrating a game-winning homer. Martin led off the ninth with his second homer of the game and the New York Yankees took advantage of some shoddy infield defense to beat the Mets 5-4 Sunday for a three-game sweep. The catcher rounded third as a sold out Yankee Stadium roared and jogged toward his joyous teammates waiting at the plate. He took a big hop and fell as he landed on the plate and grabbed his leg, putting a momentary stop to the bouncing party. "I tried to jump in the air to celebrate, and I got about 2 inches off the ground," Martin said. "But I still managed to touch home plate and it feels good." Martin's fall might've given his teammates a sudden reminder of what happened to Kendrys Morales. The Los Angeles Angels star broke his leg hopping on home plate during a walk-off win in May 2010 and missed almost two seasons. "I worried, yes," manager Joe Girardi said. "I saw him go down a little bit, but someone pulled him up and he walked quickly, so my worries went away." The homer on a full-count pitch off Jon Rauch (3-6) was the Yankees' first walk-off homer since Sept. 8, 2010. The Yankees took advantage of errors by David Wright and Omar Quintanilla to rally from a 3-0 deficit and take a 4-3 lead in the eighth on a single by Alex Rodriguez. But Rafael Soriano blew his first save since he started finishing games when Mariano Rivera was lost to season-ending knee injury. Soriano gave up a tying double in the ninth to slumping Mets first baseman Ike Davis, a defensive replacement in the eighth. He got some help keeping it tied 4-all from shortstop Jayson Nix, who threw to third to get the lead runner on a grounder by Quintanilla. "Any play he makes that's a heads-up play doesn't surprise me," Girardi said, "because he's been around the game and understands what he needs to do." Boone Logan (1-0) got two outs with runners on first and third for the win. The Yankees are 7-2 in June. The Yankees hit eight long balls in their first Subway Series sweep of the Mets in the Bronx since 2003 -- that series included a fourth, makeup game that was played at Shea Stadium as part of a two-stadium doubleheader. It was their first win in their last at-bat against the Mets since June 12, 2009, when Luis Castillo dropped Rodriguez's potential game-ending popup, allowing two runs to score. The Mets took a 3-0 lead against Andy Pettitte in the second inning with help from second baseman Robinson Cano's fielding error and Jonathon Niese pitched repeatedly out of trouble for much of the day to make it stand up for seven innings. "Definitely a tough one, the way Jon Niese threw the ball," Wright said. Pettitte gave the Yankees a scare in the sixth when he snared Scott Hairston's comebacker with his bare hand and threw him out. Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue raced out to the mound and after several minutes of deliberation and a few practice pitches, Pettitte remained. He retired the side in order then was greeted by a pat on the shoulder by Derek Jeter at the dugout. His left hand bandaged heavily, Pettitte said he'll be able to make his next start, which is scheduled to come after he turns 40 on June 15. X-rays of the hand were negative. "He's got an extra day here. So he should be OK," Girardi said. Girardi said Hiroki Kuroda will make his next scheduled start after he was hit on the foot by a sharp grounder Friday night. Trailing 3-0, in the seventh, Martin hit a two-run drive off the top of the wall in right field after Wright's throwing error extended the seventh inning. Many of the 49, 010 -- the third straight sellout -- paused to wait and see if the leaping Hairston caught the ball. "That was hard to take," Hairston said. "Guess a lot of those things happen in this ballpark." Martin, who was hitting .173 entering play May 25 has four homers in his past six games and 10 RBIs. He's raised his average to .216. "I'm starting to feel pretty comfortable at the plate," Martin said. "I made a couple of adjustments and, hopefully, I'll just keep doing what I've been doing now." Jeter led off the eighth with a slow hopper that went under Qunitanilla's glove and rolled into the outfield. Jeter was given a single and he hustled into second base with a headfirst dive on the error. Curtis Granderson then hit his second opposite field single of the game to left, off Bobby Parnell, to put runners on first and third. Mark Teixeira followed with a tying hit a day after he gave the Yankees the lead with a two-run homer. The Mets scored more than three runs against the Yankees for the first time in 11 games and for the first time in their past five games this season, but have lost six of seven overall. Making his 51st interleague start, matching Livan Hernandez for most all time, Pettitte raced through the top of the Mets order with only seven pitches in the first. He then needed 36 pitches in the second as the Mets scored three runs. He gave up three runs -- two earned -- and struck out eight in six innings. The Yankees put the leadoff batter on against Niese five times in seven innings but came up empty until the seventh. The Yankees hit into three double plays to help quash threats. Given an extra day of rest after leaving his most recent start with an accelerated heart rate, Niese appeared to get out of seventh inning when Andruw Jones hit a grounder to Wright. Wright spun and made the throw into the dirt. Martin followed with his homer. His home run in the ninth was the third walk-off homer of his career. NOTES: The Yankees reinstated pitcher Freddy Garcia from the bereavement list and sent Ryota Igarashi to Triple-A Scranton-WilkesBarre. ... Jeter has grounded into 11 double plays this season. He had 10 all last year. ... Rodriguez moved past Eddie Murray for seventh on the career RBIs list with 1,918.

By the bye: Blackhawks keep rolling following break

By the bye: Blackhawks keep rolling following break

When you're on a roll, you hate disrupting it for anything.

The Blackhawks probably felt that in some respect heading into the new NHL-mandated bye week on Feb. 12, but the need for rest usurped any worry on that front. Still, when the Blackhawks reconvened last Friday, the question remained if they could pick up where they left off on that pre-bye, five-game winning streak.

As coach Joel Quenneville said of the unusual break, "we talked about it going into it: you don't know how you're going to come out of it."

Apparently it hasn't been a problem.

The Blackhawks have won two of their first three out of the bye, including their 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.

Coming out of this break hasn't been easy for a lot of teams. The Blackhawks, like 11 other teams up to this point, lost their first game out of it. But in that loss to Edmonton, the Blackhawks played well. That continued on Sunday in Buffalo and on Tuesday in Minnesota. Now back in a rhythm schedule-wise, the Blackhawks are hitting their stride performance-wise.

"I thought we played a good game against Edmonton but we still felt there'd be some good will down the road. I thought we continued on with these next two on the road, probably played the same way going into it. So it's been a good stretch for us, and much better than we were at the beginning of the year," Quenneville said. "I like the improvement in our game."

A big part of the Blackhawks' success is finding their four-line rotation.

Jonathan Toews was joined by Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik early in the Ice Show trip, the three were given time to mesh and it's paying productive dividends. The second line is always a threat. Their third and fourth lines are a great combination of defense, skill and youth.

As the lines have started rolling, so have the Blackhawks. Each line had someone score against Buffalo. The top line thrived vs. the Wild. 

"I think all year we kind of expected the offense, coming from Arty's [Artem Anisimov's] line and maybe my line, but what's making us a really good team is our third and fourth line going out there and just battling every shift, just working, giving other teams no time, no chance to make plays with the puck," Toews said. "I think when you can rotate four lines like that, everyone starts to pick up their pace and their speed and then you just rotate in and it doesn't matter who scores on a given night. We're getting contributions from all over the place and it makes you a dangerous team and a tough team to beat."

Instead of taking steam out of the Blackhawks' sails, the bye appears to have re-energized them.

"Yeah it was good for our team," Ryan Hartman said. "We had a few guys who didn't get [rest during] the all-star break. They were still playing, and it was nice for those guys to get away from the rink and kind of get in the sun and take your mind of hockey for a bit, refresh the brain and body. I think we all needed those couple days of rest. As it's looked the last couple of games we've looked fresh and we've been bringing it almost a full 60. I wouldn't say we're quite playing a full 60 but we're really close and that was crucial for us."

Playing a full 60 was one of the Blackhawks' biggest problems earlier this season. Much like the four-line rotation, it's showing up at the right time. The Blackhawks have a great opportunity this week to get closer to the Wild, who started their break on Wednesday.

The issues that plagued the Blackhawks earlier this season are starting to dissipate. They weren't sure how they were going to come out of this break. So far, they've followed rest and relaxation with a rejuvenated game. 

"We're just rolling four lines now. Every line can score and every line's playing the best hockey," Panik said. "That's helped us."

Bears add another assistant coach to John Fox's staff

Bears add another assistant coach to John Fox's staff

John Fox and the Bears have added another assistant coach.

Zack Azzanni is leaving the University of Tennessee to become the Bears' new receivers coach.

Azzanni has been with Tennessee since 2013 as a receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Prior to that, he spent time at Wisconsin, Western Kentucky, Florida, Central Michigan and six seasons at Bowling Green.

Azzanni was on Urban Meyer's coaching staff at Bowling Green in 2001-02 and also coached Pittsburgh Steelers superstar receiver Antonio Brown at Central Michigan. Under Azzanni's tutelage at CMU from 2007-09, Brown totaled 305 receptions for 3,199 yards and 22 TDs, earning a sixth-round draft selection in 2010.

Curtis Johnson spent 2016 as his first season in the role of Bears' wide receivers coach, but announced he was leaving after the Senior Bowl to take a job with the New Orleans Saints.

It's unknown if Azzanni will get a chance to coach Alshon Jeffery (who is currently a free agent) but the incoming coach will have an important job in molding young receivers like Kevin White and Cameron Meredith.