Nationals

Broncos promote Gase to offensive coordinator

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Broncos promote Gase to offensive coordinator

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos have hired a new offensive coordinator - and no, his name isn't Peyton Manning.

Adam Gase will be calling the plays next season as he replaces Mike McCoy, who bolted earlier this week to become head coach of the San Diego Chargers.

Sure, Manning will have input - lots of it, actually - but Gase said the four-time NFL MVP actually wants a coach to bounce ideas off of, which they frequently did walking off the practice field in the season the Broncos just finished up.

That built-in familiarity with Manning and the offense is a reason why Gase was promoted from quarterbacks coach Thursday.

``While we did speak with several qualified candidates, it became clear that Adam was the best fit,'' coach John Fox said. ``He did a great job working with Peyton and all of our quarterbacks the last two seasons. Adam is a bright coach with a great future, and I am confident he'll have success in his new role.''

After all, he is sending plays in to Manning, who has a knack for making just about any offensive coordinator look good.

``Peyton does a great job of when you give him a play, if it needs to be better, he does a great job of putting you in that play,'' Gase said. ``That's what he does that's so great, that I don't think people admire enough. That's why you don't see a lot of bad plays with him.''

The two will be in Hawaii together for the Pro Bowl, but they won't interrupt beach time to chat about blitz packages. Gase is going to leave Manning alone until after the game. Then, they'll get down to work.

In the meantime, Gase will brush up on the offense so when Manning comes to him with inquiries, he will be ready.

Asked if Manning ever runs out of questions, Gase responded, ``That would be a firm no.

``His questions are always as productive and great questions,'' said Gase, who joined the Broncos in 2009 as wide receivers coach. ``When he asks questions, you're sitting there going, `That's a great question.'

``If you don't know the answer that second, you better go investigate and figure out what the answers are.''

Manning is coming off a stellar year for the Broncos in his return from four neck surgeries that forced him to sit out a season. He shattered numerous single-season franchise records, including most TD passes (37), yards (4,659), quarterback rating (105.8), completions (400) and completion percentage (68.6).

Still, one of the most indelible images of Manning's first season in the Mile High City was his kneel-down to run out the clock with the ball at his 20, 31 seconds remaining in regulation and two timeouts at his disposal. Manning later threw a costly interception in overtime, setting up the Ravens' game-winning field goal that knocked the top-seeded Broncos out of the postseason.

So, would Gase have had Manning take a knee?

``It was best for our guys to regroup at the time, get to overtime and try to win it,'' the 34-year-old Gase said. ``We had opportunities on offense and didn't make the best of them. It's a disappointing deal.''

Yeah, but would he have preferred the Broncos to be more aggressive?

``We were just trying to regroup at that time,'' he said.

Although the Broncos played at an up-tempo pace all season, Gase thinks they can take it up another notch. And those 30 points they averaged a game? He believes it can soar higher.

``We're looking to play pedal to the metal and play as fast as possible and be aggressive, and score as many points as possible every game,'' Gase said. ``I'm not nervous about calling plays. You have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time as your quarterback. I'm excited. I'm thrilled to be able to have that opportunity.''

It's not like Gase hasn't called a few plays before. Late in games, McCoy would allow him to take a few series, just to throw different wrinkles at opposing defenses.

``We experimented with that a little bit and it went well,'' Gase said.

As for whether the plays he sent in resulted in points, Gase remained silent.

``Not telling,'' he said, chuckling. ``You'll have to figure out which one it was.''

The real task before Gase remains this: Matching Manning's passion.

``When he sees guys do what he does, grind like he does, I think that's what he's looking for with everybody in the building,'' Gase said. ``He gravitates to people like that. I try to do that 100 percent, get after it as much as possible, to give him as many answers as he needed for that week.

``You can't just walk into his meeting room and say, `I think I got it.' You better be on it.''

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.

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Orioles fall in Detroit after wild 8th and 9th innings

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Orioles fall in Detroit after wild 8th and 9th innings

DETROIT -- Dixon Machado came to the plate with only one big league homer to his name, but the way this game was going, anything seemed possible.

"Walking to the plate I was thinking, `What if I hit a homer right here?'" the Detroit infielder said. "He threw me a fastball away but when he came in with a pitch I was ready for it and I just hit it hard."

Machado led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run , capping a wild final two innings and lifting the Tigers over the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 on Wednesday. Detroit led 2-1 before each team scored three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth.

Baltimore's Luis Sardinas tied it with a solo shot off Shane Greene (1-0) in the top of the ninth, but then the 26-year-old Machado hit a line drive off Pedro Araujo (1-2) that cleared the fence in left field. It was his second homer in 299 big league at-bats.

The game was moved from 6:40 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. in anticipation of bad weather. Although it was a sparse crowd, to say the least , the sun did come out, and those fans in attendance were treated to quite a few homers.

Miguel Cabrera went deep on his 35th birthday, and Jeimer Candelario and John Hicks also homered for Detroit. Hicks hit a three-run shot in the eighth that put the Tigers up 5-4.

Danny Valencia hit a solo homer for the Orioles, who have lost five straight.

Detroit's Matthew Boyd allowed a run, two hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings, striking out six. Baltimore's Kevin Gausman allowed two runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.

Cabrera's solo homer put the Tigers up 2-1 in the sixth, but Manny Machado and Chris Davis hit RBI singles as part of a three-run rally by Baltimore in the eighth. The drive by Davis was nearly a home run, but it hit the wall and stayed in play.

"There were obviously a couple bad breaks -- our ball hits the top of the fence and comes back and their ball goes over -- but there were four or five breaks we got during the game on bounces or pitch calls," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "If you lose focus and start feeling sorry for yourselves, every team you play is going to take advantage and step on your throat."