Patriots

Despite runs, Bard, Valentine happy with outing

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Despite runs, Bard, Valentine happy with outing

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The pitching line wasn't anything to boast about, but Daniel Bard's second-to-last outing in Florida was a success in his eyes.

Just as critically, it was the same for manager Bobby Valentine.

"I was walking in with (Kelly Shoppach)," said Bard after going six innings and allowing nine hits and five runs in what turned out to be a 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. "He goes, 'How many runs did they end up getting?' I said, 'Five.' He said, 'It felt like two.' I said I feel the same away. It was kind of like they kept slapping one on in every inning.

"I felt like I threw the ball well in each of those innings, but every hit they needed kind of fell through and the ground balls got through."

If Bard sounded like he was rationalizing, Valentine echoed his thoughts later.

"Overall, I liked everything," he said. "He had some tough breaks, but he worked his way out of jams. He threw all of his pitches today. I thought his changeup at times was devastating. His slider was sharp at times.

"What was there not to like other than the five runs on the board? And I thought some of those could have been prevented."

"Today was the first game I actually felt like a starting pitcher out there and not like a reliever starting," said Bard. "I used all four pitches, a steady mix of all four. I really did it and felt confident about it . . . I was able to take a lot of things from it. Take the five runs out of it and I felt pretty about it."

Bard made a slight adjustment in his positioning for both the full windup delivery and his stretch delivering, finding consistency for both.

He still hasn't been told what he'll be doing, but he's no longer concerning himself with the uncertainty.

"For a little while, you wonder and you wonder," he said. "But I've just kind of gotten to the point where it's out of my hands. I'm going to put the work in and do the best I can right now. If that shifts to a bullpen role, I'll do the same thing.

"Like everything in life, if you can't control it, it's probably not worth worrying about."

When Valentine was asked if there was a bottom line decision on Bard coming, the manager said: "I just like what I see."

Valentine wouldn't offer a deadline on a decision on the final two spots in the rotation.

"I don't know that there's going to be any big announcements or anything," he said. "It looks like it's all coming together. No matter who's pitching, I like the pitching. I'll see how it works. I haven't (decided) in my mind. But it looks like it's going to be an easy decision (because there are a number of good candidates from which to choose).

"It's not like we're going to be searching for pitchers to start games."

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

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MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

PHILADELPHIA - Carson Wentz tossed four touchdown passes, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame losing nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters in a 34-24 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

Wentz threw for 268 yards and ran for a career-best 63 after a shaky start to lead the NFL-best Eagles (6-1) to their fifth straight win. But the victory was costly because Peters was carted off the field with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Kirk Cousins had 303 yards passing and three TDs for the Redskins (3-3).

The Eagles went three-and-out three times in their first four drives and had only 57 total yards before Wentz hit Mack Hollins in stride with a perfect 64-yard TD pass to tie it at 10.

That got the offense rolling.

Wentz connected with Zach Ertz for 46 yards on the next series and found him again for a 4-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.

After getting the second-half kickoff, the Eagles drove 86 yards for another touchdown. Peters was injured during the series, and fans chanted his name while teammates surrounded the cart.

Wentz finished the drive off with a play that Peters would appreciate.

While being hit by two defenders and falling forward, Wentz lofted a 9-yard TD pass to Corey Clement.

Wentz fired a 10-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor to expand the lead to 31-17. Wentz kept that drive alive by escaping a sack and running 17 yards on third-and-8.

Cousins tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Thompson to give the Redskins a 10-3 lead. He connected with Jordan Reed on a 5-yard TD to cut the deficit to 24-17 and threw a 12-yard pass to Reed to cap the scoring.

The Eagles were penalized on four straight plays to start their first possession before Wentz was intercepted by Quinton Dunbar on a deep pass to Torrey Smith on second-and-31.

Philadelphia swept Washington for the first time since 2013 and has a commanding lead in the NFC East. The Cowboys and Redskins are tied for second place.

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