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Leyland: Don't even think it

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Leyland: Don't even think it

Tigers manager Jim Leyland made one thing clear before even touching on the topic of tough postseason moves: ``I'm not going to pinch hit for Cabrera.''

Nope, Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera would be batting for the Tigers with the season on the line, all right. Even after Yankees manager Joe Girardi's switch to pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez in place of Alex Rodriguez paid off huge with a stunning two-homer night in Wednesday's 3-2, 12-inning victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

``You have to be prepared for everything. And you try to be prepared for everything,'' Leyland said before Game 5 of the AL division series in Oakland.

Leyland spent the afternoon leading up to Thursday's game watching baseball with his wife at the team hotel. But he still had plenty of thoughts about two thrillers on each coast a night earlier.

Ibanez hit a tying homer in the bottom of the ninth and a game-ending drive in the 12th.

``So far it's been a great postseason,'' Leyland said. ``What happened last night in New York is mind-boggling.''

Detroit led its best-of-five division series 2-0 when it arrived in Oakland, but lost the next two. The A's rallied for a 4-3 victory against closer Jose Valverde on Wednesday in another dramatic finish for the low-budget club.

Leyland has seen it all in 21 years as a manager and knows not to get too high or too low at this stage.

``I don't want to sound casual about this kind of stuff because, don't get me wrong, the game broke our heart,'' Leyland said. ``But at the same time, you learn over the years that, like I always use the expression, you can't chew yesterday's breakfast. The game is over. They beat us. They earned it.''

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TEDDY WINS AGAIN: It's been a big couple of weeks for Teddy Roosevelt.

First the 10-foot-tall foam rendering of the ol' Rough Rider finally got to win the Presidents Race mascot contest at Nationals Park. Now one of his speeches was used to fire up the Washington Nationals before they went out and forced a Game 5 in their NL division series by beating the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 Thursday.

``Our backs were against the wall. I wanted to say something that brought us together, a band of brothers who go out fighting and see what happens,'' said Mark DeRosa, the veteran utility player who was left off Washington's playoff roster but is a key presence in the clubhouse.

He read from Roosevelt's ``Man in the Arena'' speech, delivered in Paris in 1910, which includes the lines: ``The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood ... and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.''

DeRosa used the karaoke machine he often speaks through to kid around with teammates before games, sprinkling his speech with swear words as players got dressed Thursday.

He said right fielder Jayson Werth ``heard it and came running.''

Hours later, Werth won Game 4 and kept Washington's season going with a walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.

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REMOTE CHANCE: Orioles left fielder Nate McLouth had no problem avoiding the constant TV replays of Raul Ibanez's two homers that led the Yankees to a 3-2, 12-inning victory in Game 3.

His wife was with him in New York.

When his wife traveled with the team, McLouth has little chance at watching sports recap shows.

``I can promise you we're not watching many highlights after the game, unless they show them on the Food Network,'' McLouth said.

McLouth has a team-high four hits in 13 at-bats in the postseason entering Game 4 but he doesn't get control of the remote in the hotel.

``I think we stuck with `Property Brothers' last night, so I haven't seen the replay yet,'' he said. ``It's not something you want to sit there and watch 10 times in your room afterwards.''

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SHIFTING SPOTS: Oakland's Josh Donaldson looked like a natural third baseman when he dived into foul territory to rob Detroit's Jhonny Peralta of a hit late in Game 4 of their AL division series.

Yet Donaldson, a catcher by trade, had never played third base in the majors until this season but has excelled there for the Athletics since being recalled from the minors in August.

``Josh Donaldson is a great athlete,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ``His position is catcher, but he could probably play anywhere on the diamond. He's a football player, baseball player, truly a guy that could probably play anywhere on the diamond. We're lucky to have those athletes.''

Donaldson is far from alone in learning a new position in Oakland's patchwork infield. Outfielder Brandon Moss became a power-hitting first baseman who looks natural scooping throws in the dirt and shortstop Cliff Pennington moved to second base late in the season.

Only shortstop Stephen Drew is playing his natural position in the playoffs for the A's.

``It's been a little bit of a work-in-progress,'' Melvin said. ``I think our defense is as good as it's been all year now.''

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Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

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USA Today Sports

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

TORONTO (AP) -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman gave up hits to the first three Baltimore batters Saturday.

The Orioles got just two more hits the rest of the afternoon.

Stroman pitched seven sharp innings for his second win in three starts and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-1 for its sixth straight victory over the struggling Orioles.

"He started working both sides of the plate with his sinker and I think that threw them off a little bit, especially late in counts," Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. "Overall it was just kind of vintage Stroman."

Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb picked up his major league-worst 13th loss. The Orioles dropped to 1-8 against Toronto this season.

"I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name," Cobb said. "It's sickening."

Stroman (3-7) allowed one run and five hits. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, the first time this season he has topped 100.

Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month. He went 0-5 in seven starts before the injury.

"Since he's come back from the DL he's been really good," manager John Gibbons said. "I just think he's pitching like he's always pitched."

Stroman said he's focused on forgetting his early season struggles.

"I know I didn't have the first half I wanted but I've always been someone who prides myself on the second half and finishing strong," Stroman said. "That's something I'll look to continue to do this year."

Friend and teammate Devon Travis likes what he's seen from Stroman since the right-hander returned from injury.

"He's got that fire back," Travis said. "He's really under control. I think he's locking in on every single pitch."

Seunghwan Oh worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for his seventh save in 12 opportunities.

Baltimore scored one run or fewer for the 27th time, the most in the majors.

The first three Orioles batters all singled, although Jonathan Schoop was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. After Adam Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI hit to right, Mark Trumbo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays answered with a three-run fourth against Cobb, taking advantage of a key Orioles error.

Justin Smoak opened the inning with a walk and, following a video review, was ruled safe at second after Cobb's high throw pulled shortstop Tim Beckham off the base on at attempted force play.

"That's not it in a nutshell but I can understand why that's the focus, a play we haven't been making," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, a second run scored on Diaz's double play grounder, and Maile capped the rally with an RBI single.

Diaz had four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the 10th. He went 2 for 3 Saturday with a pair of singles.

The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fifth when Teoscar Hernandez doubled, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Cobb's balk.

Cobb (2-13) lost his sixth straight decision, allowing four runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. Showalter said Cobb was removed to avoid worsening a blister on his pitching hand.

"I was only going to have a few more pitches going into the sixth so he felt like the risk-reward was not really worth it," Cobb said.

Grichuk made the defensive play of the game, a running catch on the warning track in left center to retire Trumbo for the first out of the ninth.

GOING DOWN?

Jones and Chris Davis got stuck in an elevator at the team's downtown hotel following Friday night's defeat. Jones documented much of the saga on Instagram. The players and fellow passengers were eventually rescued by Toronto Fire Services staff. The sound system at Rogers Centre played a few bars of Aerosmith's `Love in an Elevator' before Jones batted in the fourth inning Saturday.

NO HOMERS

Toronto won without hitting a home run for just the third time in 26 games this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Baltimore is expected to demote a reliever when RHP Andrew Cashner (neck) is activated off the 10-day disabled list Sunday.

UP NEXT

Cashner (2-9, 4.56) last pitched July 10, when he allowed five runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Yankees. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29) is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three July starts.

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Manny Machado pens goodbye to O's fans on Instagram

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USA Today Sports Images

Manny Machado pens goodbye to O's fans on Instagram

Days after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that captivated much of Major League Baseball, former Oriole Manny Machado took to Instagram to thank the only organization he's ever known. 

The 26-year-old's contract expires at the end of this season, which the Orioles chose not to renew as the last-place club enters a rebuilding phase. 

Machado put up big numbers in the team's first 97 games totaling career-highs in home runs (24), RBIs (65), OBP (.387) and OPS (.962). 

He is expected to play shortstop for a Dodgers club which finished the first half of the season 10 games above .500 in a competitive, tight NL West. 

The Dodgers will pay Machado $6.3 million. 

To my Baltimore family, I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out how I would say goodbye but there wasn’t an easy way to do it. I first joined this organization at the age of 17 and these past eight years have far exceeded anything I ever could’ve imagined. Throughout the ups and downs, you embraced me unconditionally and you took a kid from Miami and brought me up as one of your own. I’ve enjoyed my time here and you all have played a big part in that!! Thank you Birdland! You are forever in my heart! To the Baltimore Orioles, it has truly been a blessing to put on that uniform every day. To the Angelos Family & Dan Duquette, thank you for making my dreams come true!!! To Buck and the coaching staff, thank you for your commitment and dedication to making me the best player and teammate I can possibly be…I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you. To my teammates, we’ve shared some amazing times with lots of memories & friendships that I’ll cherish forever. Schoopy, I love you bro and I know you will carry the torch!!! ! Much love always, Manny #13

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