Bears

Braves 15, Phillies 13: Yes, you read that right

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Braves 15, Phillies 13: Yes, you read that right

From Comcast SportsNetATLANTA (AP) -- Chipper Jones' bad left knee has limited his playing time at the start of his final season, so he says it's important to make the most of his chances."When I am in there, I want to make a splash," Jones said. "I did it tonight."Jones hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning and the Atlanta Braves overcame Carlos Ruiz's seven RBIs to outlast the Philadelphia Phillies 15-13 on Wednesday night.The seesaw game saw the Braves rally from a 6-0 deficit against Roy Halladay, then come back from four runs down in the eighth."It was just a weird game all the way around," said Brian McCann, who hit a grand slam off Halladay. "Stuff you've never seen happen."Befitting the crazy game, McCann was poked in the eye with an errant high-five from teammate Michael Bourn after the homer.Dan Uggla led off the Atlanta 11th with a single. Jones just missed a homer on a ball that landed barely foul to right, then connected against Brian Sanches (0-1). He began his path around the bases with a slow journey to first base as he and his teammates savored the dramatic moment and Braves fans stood and cheered."What a cool moment that was, not only for Chipper, but for the rest of us out there to enjoy that, to watch that," McCann said. "To see him walk down the first base line like that, that's a treat for all of us."Jones' homer ended the Braves' eight-game losing streak to the Phillies, dating back to last season. He said the homer will hold a special place on his career highlights."That's right up there just because the team that we're kind of shooting for in the division obviously is the Phillies," said Jones, who turned 40 on April 24. "Until somebody knocks them off, they're the team to beat."Jones is third all-time among switch-hitters with 458 homers, trailing only Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray. Including his time in the minor leagues, Jones said it was his 500th homer as a professional."I'm not going to get there at the major league level, but to hit 500 homers as a professional is pretty cool," he said.It was the highest-scoring extra-inning game in the majors since Cleveland beat Kansas City 15-13 in 10 innings in 2006, according to STATS LLC.Ruiz had three hits, including a three-run homer in the seventh and a three-run double in the eighth. He was the first Phillies hitter to drive in seven runs since Ryan Howard against the Yankees on June 20, 2006."He's been awesome for us," said Halladay of Ruiz. "I think that's what hurts most. When you have games like this, your teammates are out there grinding and getting it done and I didn't. And that was the difference, really."That's the toughest one, letting those guys down who really got it done today."Halladay had his worst start in five years. He gave up 12 hits -- one below his career high -- and eight runs in 5 1-3 innings."Honestly, I felt good," Halladay said after seeing his ERA climb from 1.95 to 3.40. "There were some that I didn't execute. It wasn't anything else."Laynce Nix also hit a three-run double for the Phillies.Braves closer Craig Kimbrel couldn't hold a 13-12 lead in the ninth. Shane Victorino's two-out infield hit drove in Juan Pierre, who walked and stole second and took third on a grounder.Halladay was tagged by McCann's fifth career slam in the fifth. The former Cy Young winner had not allowed as many earned runs since May 5, 2007, when he gave up nine runs in 5 1-3 innings at Texas.Martin Prado had three hits and drove in three runs, including a two-run single in the Atlanta eighth.Braves reliever Eric O'Flaherty blew an 8-6 lead before recording an out in the seventh. Ty Wigginton walked, pinch-hitter John Mayberry Jr. singled and Ruiz followed with his fourth homer to left for a 9-8 edge.Atlanta's Tommy Hanson gave up eight hits and four runs in 3 2-3 innings. It was his shortest start since he pitched 3 1-3 innings against the Mets on Aug. 6, 2011, in his last outing before he was placed on the disabled list for the remainder of the season with right shoulder tendinitis.NOTES:Phillies LHP Cliff Lee, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle, threw in the bullpen before the game. If he has no discomfort, he plans another bullpen session on Saturday. If all goes well on Saturday, Lee is expected to come off the disabled list. ... Atlanta's Jason Heyward missed his third straight start with soreness around his right oblique muscle before entering the game as a pinch-hitter and remaining in right field. ... The Phillies placed 1B Jim Thome on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his lower back and recalled C Erik Kratz from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The move was made retroactive to Sunday. ... The three-game series ends on Thursday when Braves RHP Randall Delgado (2-2) starts against RHP Joe Blanton (2-3).

Eddy Piñeiro is quietly finding his form again, another sign that he's cut out for this

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USA Today

Eddy Piñeiro is quietly finding his form again, another sign that he's cut out for this

As a large group of TV cameras gathered around Charles Leno Jr.’s space in the Bears’ locker room, Eddy Pineiro quickly finished getting dressed in the shadows to Leno’s left. The kicker’s stayed out of the spotlight since losing the trust of his head coach on a nationally-televised game three weeks ago, but he’s played as well as anyone during the Bears’ three-game return to relevance. 

“Yeah, I would definitely say I’m more confident,” he said after the Bears’ 31-24 win on Thursday night. “There’s just good rhythm – good snap, good hold.” 

He hasn’t had to attempt a kick over 40 yards (!!) over the three games, but Pineiro’s accuracy issues, at least for now, seem at bay. He hit all five of his kicks against the Cowboys – four extra points and one 36-yard field goal. The kicker hasn’t missed a field goal (5-5) since LA, and has gone 9-10 on extra points. More importantly, they haven’t lost since either. 

“Oh yeah, it feels great,” Pineiro said. “Everyone in the locker room is super excited and happy. Everybody’s in a good mood. When you win, everybody’s in a good mood.” 

He hasn’t been physically tested much over the last month, but just ask Aldrick Rosas or Brett Maher how easy kicking at Soldier Field – even in nice conditions – is. The Bears have always loved Pineiro’s response to adversity, and it’s starting to look like he’s rewarded them again. 

“Just gaining experience, honestly,” he said. “I think the biggest thing for me has just been gaining experience. Playing the game, I obviously don’t have the most experience, but I think trying to gain that experience has been the biggest thing for me.” 

Pineiro mentioned that he’s still getting used to the adjustments that come with kicking in colder temperatures – which may help explain some of his more recent lackluster kickoffs. It’s easy to see how a nationally-televised game in unusually pleasant conditions could have been a trap for a young player who’s maybe pressing a bit, but after getting the full Bears Kicker Experience stuffed into half a season, Pineiro knows better. 

“In my opinion, you’ve got to play well in every single game,” he said. “[it’s] not like just because you’re on national TV, you’ve got to play better. It felt good to get out there and hit a couple kicks.” 

Otto Porter Jr. remains out indefinitely for Bulls, reassessed in 2 weeks

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USA Today

Otto Porter Jr. remains out indefinitely for Bulls, reassessed in 2 weeks

The wait for Otto Porter Jr. continues.

The Bulls announced Friday that their starting small forward will be reassessed in two weeks after a repeat MRI of his left foot showed "continued bone edema." That's basically a bone bruise, which has sidelined Porter since Nov. 6. Coach Jim Boylen said Porter will wear a walking boot "for a bit" and then will visit a specialist. In a release, the team said that's Dr. Bob Anderson, the same Green Bay, Wis.-based surgeon who reconstructed Denzel Valentine's left ankle.

Chandler Hutchison also remains out with his bruised shoulder, although Hutchison is working out individually. Kris Dunn has been starting for the Bulls alongside Tomas Satoransky and Zach LaVine.

Boylen also said Thad Young will miss Friday's matchup with the Warriors because of personal reasons and will meet the Bulls in Miami, where they play the Heat on Sunday.