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Zito has chance to pull Giants even with Reds

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Zito has chance to pull Giants even with Reds

CINCINNATI (AP) Joaquin Arias hit the ball, put his head down and ran. All he knew was that the Giants' season depended upon how fast he made it to first.

``That's the fastest I've ever run to first,'' the infielder said.

He won the playoff dash, taking advantage of third baseman Scott Rolen's momentary bobble to beat the throw. Arias' foot hit the bag, and the Giants suddenly had a little hope.

After managing only one hit through the first nine innings, the Giants took advantage of a passed ball and Rolen's error in the 10th inning for a 2-1 victory that cut the Cincinnati Reds' lead in the division series to 2-1.

A team that's struggled just to get hits is suddenly feeling like it has a chance against long odds. The Giants are trying to become the first team to overcome a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five series by winning three straight on the road.

``I think we have to be really happy that we came away with a win tonight because we didn't swing the bats very well at all,'' said Buster Posey, who singled as part of the winning rally.

The Giants have struggled the last two games against Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey, managing a total of three hits in the starters' 14 innings combined. They're not sure who's up next for the Reds, who haven't won a home playoff game in 17 years and now have a tough decision.

Left-hander Barry Zito will pitch Game 4 on Wednesday for San Francisco, which has won the last 11 times he started. The Reds had to decide whether to try ace Johnny Cueto, forced out of the opener in San Francisco on Saturday with spasms in his back and side.

Manager Dusty Baker said after the game that they hadn't decided whether to go with Cueto, bring back Mat Latos on short rest again, or replace Cueto with Mike Leake, who wasn't on the division series roster.

Switching out Cueto would leave the Reds ace ineligible to pitch in the championship series should the Reds get that far.

``It's very difficult, but it all depends on if your ace can't go or whatever it is,'' Baker said. ``That's part of the conversation - us going without him. We realize what's at stake.''

They were hoping to avoid having to make that choice. One grounder forced the issue.

The Giants managed only three hits against Bailey and the bullpen, but got two of them in the 10th - along with a passed ball by Ryan Hanigan - to pull it out. San Francisco won despite striking out 16 times.

Rolen, an eight-time Gold Glove winner, couldn't cleanly field Arias' grounder, which put him in a tough position.

``I've gone through the play many times in my mind between then and now, and I think I would play it the same way,'' Rolen said. ``It hit my glove. I just couldn't get it to stick.''

The Reds haven't won a home playoff game since 1995, the last time they reached the NL championship series. They scored a run in the first, then managed only one more hit the rest of the way, wasting another dominating performance by their pitching staff.

The Reds set a season high with 16 strikeouts. Bailey matched his career high by fanning 10 in seven innings, a franchise playoff record. He allowed only one single.

San Francisco's one-hit wonders finally got it going against Jonathan Broxton, who gave up leadoff singles by Posey - the NL batting champion - and Hunter Pence, who pulled his left calf on a wild swing before getting his hit.

With two outs, Hanigan couldn't come up with a pitch, letting the runners advance. Moments later, Cincinnati's chance for a sweep was over when Rolen bobbled the ball.

A Reds team that lost a lot - closer Ryan Madson in spring training, top hitter Joey Votto for six weeks at midseason, Baker for the NL Central clincher, Cueto in the first inning of the first playoff game - ended up with another playoff loss at home.

Baker was back in the home dugout at Great American for the first time in nearly a month, recovered from an irregular heartbeat and a mini-stroke. After a pregame ovation, he settled in his red folding chair with a toothpick on his lips.

The 63-year-old manager watched his pitching staff dominate again, but fail to get that breakthrough win.

The second-largest crowd in Great American history was still getting the hang of playoff rooting. A video board message instructed the 44,501 fans not to wave white rally towels while the Reds were in the field - could be distracting.

Didn't take long to get those towels twirling. Brandon Phillips led off with a single, but was thrown out at third when he tried to advance on a ball that got away from Posey. It was costly - the Reds went on to score on a walk and a pair of singles, including Jay Bruce's RBI hit to right.

NOTES: The game started 3 minutes late because a sign-waving fan ran onto the field. He was tackled by police in center field. ... Giants avoided their third playoff sweep in franchise history. ... The Giants haven't lost three in a row since they dropped five straight from July 25-30. ... Tom Browning, who pitched the Reds' previous no-hitter - a perfect game against the Dodgers in 1988 - threw the ceremonial pitch. ... Bailey fanned six in a row, matching the Reds' postseason record. ... The only larger crowd at GABP was for the 2010 playoff game against Philadelphia.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter:http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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Game 6 Capitals at Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 6 Capitals at Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

After three straight wins, the Caps now sit just one win away from closing out the Columbus Blue Jackets. They will get their shot to finish the series Monday in Game 6.

Nicklas Backstrom was the hero in Game 5 for Washington with three points including the overtime winner. Who will step up in Game 6? The Caps will need to make sure it's not Artemi Panarin who has been held without a point in two straight games. Washington will also need to make sure their penalty kill stays hot as they have killed off 13 straight power plays for the Blue Jackets.

The Pittsburgh Penguins await the winner of this series after closing out the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. Will the Caps close out Columbus and set up the rematch?

What: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Round 1, Game 6

Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 6 on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

The Capitals take on the Blue Jackets in Game 6 on Monday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Columbus. Washington currently leads the series 3-2.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME ON?

Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blue Jackets
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 6, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Here are the Caps' projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly- Lars Eller - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Scratches: Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky (upper-body), Shane Gerisch, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

SEE THE CAPITALS VS. BLUE JACKETS FULL SERIES SCHEDULE HERE

CAPITALS SCHEDULE

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Need to Know: Setting the final odds on the Redskins first-round draft pick

Need to Know: Setting the final odds on the Redskins first-round draft pick

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, April 23, three days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

Setting the odds on the Redskins’ top pick

We have just three days left until the draft and it’s time to make the final predictions. For the last time before this draft, we’re going to break out the $100 in imaginary poker chips and see who is the favorite to be the Redskins’ top pick. 

Before we get started, all of these odds are set with the Redskins staying at No. 13. With a separate stack of chips, I’ll put $20 on them trading down, $80 on them staying put. There just isn’t an obvious team to deal with or a player that would be on the board to make a team want to move up. 

DT Vita Vea, $30—I would have this a little higher but I’m becoming less confident that he’ll be on the board when the Redskins draft at 13. Normally nose tackle isn’t a high-value position, but this is an odd draft and Vea is a freakish talent. He has to get past the Raiders picking tenth and the Dolphins at No. 11 and I’m not sure they will. 

S Derwin James, $20—If Vea is gone then there is a good chance that James will be there at 13, assuming that the four quarterbacks everybody thinks will go in the top 12 are indeed selected. Although the Redskins have D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson at safety, the versatile James could find snaps all over the field, as a third safety to cover tight ends and perhaps even at slot corner. 

DT Da’Ron Payne, $15—It’s starting to look like he’ll be a reach at 13; his real value lays more in the late teens or early twenties. But the analysts’ consensus doesn’t necessarily match up with what the Redskins think. If they believe that Jim Tomsula can coach some pass rushing ability out of him, they could well have him graded high enough to go ahead and fill the need with the first-round pick. 

LB Roquan Smith, $10—His size may concern enough teams to leave him on the board until the Redskins are on the clock. I’m not sure that the Redskins would take him because they just re-signed Mason Foster and Zach Brown. But he is fast, hard hitting, and he may be too good to pass up. 

DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, $10—Many project him to be a slot corner in the NFL. A few years ago, many teams would hesitate to take a nickel corner in the first-round. But today, with teams lining up with three or more wide receivers on 63 percent of the snaps a slot corner is much more than a role player. Add Fitzpatrick’s ability to move back to safety and you have a player the Redskins should covet if he drops to 13. 

CB Denzel Ward, $10—I don’t give much of a chance of being on the board when the Redskins pick but stranger things have happened. He would be a steal at 13.

RB Derrius Guice, $5—I don’t think that this will happen, but I can’t look at all of the attention the Redskins have given to him and believe that there is a zero chance of them taking a running back this high in an RB-rich draft.  

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS.

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Rookie minicamp (5/11) 18
—OTAs start (5/22) 29
—Training camp starts (7/26) 94

The Redskins last played a game 113 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 139 days. 

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