Fire

Power surge: White Sox double up Yankees

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Power surge: White Sox double up Yankees

NEW YORK --- A.J. Pierzynskis 1,000th game with the White Sox wasnt too shabby.

The veteran catcher homered twice and drove in three runs and the bottom of the order came to life as the White Sox topped the New York Yankees in the Bronx for a second straight night with a 14-7 win on Friday.

Paul Konerko also broke out of his slump in a big way, going 3-for-5 with a solo homer and a walk as the White Sox and Jose Quintana rallied from an early four-run deficit for the teams sixth win in seven days. The White Sox finished with 19 hits as they increased their lead in the American League Central to 3 12 games over the Cleveland Indians and 5 over the Detroit Tigers, who both lost.

A pleasant surprise through his first six starts, Quintana (3-1) struggled out of the gate in his seventh start when he yielded four first-inning runs. Curtis Granderson had a two-run homer and Andruw Jones had a two-run double off Quintana.

But the White Sox fired back in the second inning and never stopped.

Pierzynski led off the second with a solo homer off Yankees rookie Adam Warren, who was making his major league debut. Gordon Beckham -- three hits -- followed consecutive singles by Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez with a two-run double and Youkilis tied the game in the second with an RBI groundout.

Konerko then gave the White Sox the lead with a solo homer to start the third inning. Alex Rios followed with a single and appeared to be thrown out on a stolen base attempt before the ball was thrown wildly by Yankees catcher Chris Stewart, allowing Rios to advance to third. Pierzynski then added to the lead with an RBI single to make it 6-4.

Following Jayson Nixs two-run double in the fourth, Pierzynski didn't allow the game to stay even long as he started the fifth inning with a solo homer off David Phelps (1-3). An inning later, Rios singled in a run to make it 8-6. Ramirez added a two-run homer in the seventh to make it 10-6.

The White Sox continued the onslaught reliever Cory Wade, the Yankees fourth pitcher of the game.

Ramirez -- 4-for-5, three runs, three RBIs -- doubled in a run in the ninth and Alejandro De Aza doubled in two more. Adam Dunn, who also walked twice, singled in another run off Wade to make it 14-7. Wade allowed six earned runs and seven hits in 2 13 innings.

Things got so bad for the Yankees, manager Joe Girardi brought outfielder Dewayne Wise -- who saved Mark Buehrles perfect game with a soaring catch -- in to pitch. Wise recorded two quick outs of Konerko and Rios to end the frame.

His efforts werent quite as heroic as Quintana, who rebounded nicely to earn a victory even though he gave up as many earned runs (six) as he had allowed in his first 43 13 innings this season. Nate Jones also had a big outing as the rookie earned a hold with a scoreless eighth. Leyson Septimo closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning in his major league debut.

Bastian Schweinsteiger finally sees the field in Fire preseason

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USA TODAY

Bastian Schweinsteiger finally sees the field in Fire preseason

Coach Veljko Paunovic still went with a second-choice lineup to start the Fire's preseason match against USL expansion team Nashville SC on Wednesday, but the second half featured the first preseason action for Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Schweinsteiger came on for the second half, along with Nemanja Nikolic, Johan Kappelhof and a few other Fire regulars. The German sat out the first four preseason games, but looked sharp in his 45 minutes.

One of the highlights was this smooth move between two defenders:

Schweinsteiger also had an impressive switch pass to set up a shot for second-round pick Diego Campos in the final minutes of the game. Campos drilled the shot on target, but was unable to beat the goalkeeper.

The team did not say Schweinsteiger was injured despite the repeated absences in matches. The Fire have dealt with injuries to Matt Polster, Luis Solignac, Daniel Johnson and rookie Grant Lillard this preseason. None of those four, along with Dax McCarty, played in the 0-0 draw.

The Fire next play Saturday at Orlando in a final match in Florida before returning to Chicago. The Fire also play Tulsa, the team's USL affiliate, at Toyota Park on March 3 before taking on Sporting Kansas City in the season opener on March 10.

There are 600,000 reasons you won't hear Gar, Pax or Hoiberg discuss losing

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AP

There are 600,000 reasons you won't hear Gar, Pax or Hoiberg discuss losing

The Bulls made headlines on Tuesday when VP John Paxson announced that David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne would be entering the rotation, thus continuing the youth movement in Chicago.

On the surface the moves make sense. The 24-year-old Nwaba, the 25-year-old Felicio and the 23-year-old Cameron Payne will be replacing 28-year-old Justin Holiday, 29-year-old Robin Lopez and 25-year-old Jerian Grant. The Bulls want to see what they have in these younger players who haven't played much; they already know what they have in Lopez and Holiday, and Grant (like the other two) is under contract through next year.

OK, got that? Here's why they're making the move: they're sitting 8th in the NBA Lottery standings and really want to move into the top-5 to give themselves a chance at what should be a loaded front-end of the draft class. It's pretty obvious, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either named Gar Forman, John Paxson or Fred Hoiberg.

And here's why: On Wednesday Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined a whopping $600,000 by the NBA for comments he made on a podcast regarding tanking. The Mavericks are currently 18-40, the third worst record in the NBA. This comes a season after they finished 33-49, netting them the No. 9 pick that turned into talented point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

So when Cuban was asked about the best interests of his Dallas team, which touts young talent but clearly isn't headed for the postseason in 2018, he said this on the House Call with Dr. J Podcast:

"I'm probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren't competing for the playoffs. I was like, 'Look, losing is our best option. [Commissioner] Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we're not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that's the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability."

Cuban isn't wrong, and the Mavericks sure as hell aren't the only team tanking. But to come right now and admit that losing is the team's best option wasn't, as Cuban predicted, going to sit well with the league office.

Commissioner Adam Silver sent out a memo with the fine that said Cuban's comments "which concerned his perspective on the team's competitive success this season" were "detrimental to the NBA."

So while the Bulls are going about their business in trying to lose as many games down the stretch as possible, don't expect anyone to admit it's the reason behind their personnel moves. There are 600,000 reasons why.