Tillman rocked as Twins blow away O's


Tillman rocked as Twins blow away O's

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Denard Span had three hits and five RBIs, plus two highlight-reel catches in center field to help the Minnesota Twins stop their five-game losing streak and beat the Baltimore Orioles 19-7 on Monday night. Ben Revere made two remarkable running grabs himself in right field to go with four hits and three RBIs, Joe Mauer homered and drove in two runs and Justin Morneau had four of Minnesota's 20 hits. Chris Tillman (1-1) gave up seven runs in the first and didn't finish the inning, the shortest appearance by an Orioles starter this season. Six of the runs were unearned, due an untimely two-out error by first baseman Mark Reynolds. He hit a three-run homer off Scott Diamond (8-3), but the Twins starter won his third straight decision thanks to the big early lead. After such an unfamiliarly strong start, threatening to not only snap that ugly streak of 14 straight losing seasons but make the playoffs, the Orioles have slid back toward the .500 mark largely because of a crumbling rotation. Only Wei-Yin Chin is currently in action from the opening day quintet. In four of their last eight games, the starter has gone just four innings or fewer. The Orioles fell out of the lead in the crowded race for the second wild-card spot. Tillman turned in a stellar start for the Orioles on July 4, surrendering only two hits and two unearned runs over a career-high 8 13 innings at Seattle, but this time was just the opposite of that. Baseball games are rarely determined so early, but a pair of plays in the field in the first inning essentially decided this one. With two on and none out, Adam Jones drove what would've been a double or a triple hard down the right-field line, but Revere raced toward the corner and came up with a fully outstretched catch to freeze the runners. Then Wieters bounced into a double play, keeping the Orioles from scoring at all. In the bottom of the frame, Revere doubled and scored on Mauer's single. The Twins eventually loaded the bases, but Tillman had two outs and a full count on Ryan Doumit. On the eighth pitch of his at-bat, Doumit hit a chopper to first base that Reynolds awkwardly lunged toward with his backhand. The ball glanced off the edge of his glove, allowing two men to score and paving the way for Span's three-run double that capped the inning. The Orioles and Twins sure packed a lot into this matchup, including a balk, an infield fly rule call and even a two-run infield single. That came courtesy of Revere, whose grounder up the middle skipped off second base in front of shortstop J.J. Hardy, who couldn't grab it in time to throw Span out at home and keep the Twins from taking a 10-2 lead in the third. Span made a sprinting, sliding catch of a sinking liner to steal a single from Steve Tolleson in the sixth and sped back to nab J.J. Hardy's drive against the bullpen wall in the seventh. Revere also took an extra-base hit from Hardy with his second long run of the night, in the fifth. NOTES: Orioles DH Jim Thome returned to Target Field to face the Twins with a visiting team for the third time in less than a year, first with the Indians and then with the Phillies. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire playfully held hostage the ball Thome hit into the flower bed above right field for career homer 607 when he was here last month. Gardenhire joked he needed to see "something that helps one of our favorite charities" before giving it back. ... RH Samuel Deduno (0-0, 5.06 ERA) makes his second career start for the Twins on Tuesday. He was added to the rotation right before the All-Star break. LH Zach Britton will be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk by the Orioles and make his 2012 debut. He started the season on the DL with a left shoulder problem. ... The Orioles still haven't named a starter for Wednesday to fill RH Jason Hammel's spot. Hammel had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Monday. ... LH Dana Eveland cleared waivers and was outrighted to Norfolk by the Orioles. ... The Twins are averaging 5.9 runs per game when Diamond starts, nearly two more than the rest of the rotation. ... Morneau and Trevor Plouffe each stretched their season-long hitting streaks to 14 straight games for the Twins.

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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Washington Wizards

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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