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Barry Zito shines in World Series debut for Giants

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Barry Zito shines in World Series debut for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Barry Zito is playing his part in this World Series, all right.

After years of being labeled baseball's most overpaid pitcher, Zito took the ball Wednesday night and thoroughly outshined reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander to lead the San Francisco Giants to an 8-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers that sent the orange-crazed home fans into a Zito-fueled frenzy.

``You can't let your nerves get to you. You can't go out and try to make things happen,'' Zito said. ``You can't go try to strike guys out or get ground balls. You just have to take every pitch one at a time and give everything you've got to each pitch and let baseball play out from there.''

Three home runs from Pablo Sandoval only helped Zito's cause in Game 1.

The left-hander watched his teammates clinch the World Series title two years ago in Texas, never playing a part on the field that postseason after he was left off the roster. That was all the motivation he needed to revive his career in his early 30s.

Now, he has the Giants one win closer to another championship after a dazzling World Series debut. Zito has just about earned his $126 million contract in a sensational span of six days. A hefty chunk of it, anyway.

``I battled in September to make the postseason roster,'' Zito said. ``The last thing I would have expected at that point was to be starting Game 1. Just the opportunity was just magical. To be able to go up against Verlander and give our team a chance to go up 1-0, and the fact that we won, it's just kind of surreal. It's just a pleasure to be a part of it all.''

Last Friday night at Busch Stadium, Zito pitched a season-saving 5-0 victory against St. Louis and sent the Giants home trailing the defending champion Cardinals 3-2 - and they rallied again to reach a second World Series in three years.

For anyone who doubted Zito could deliver on the big October stage, while facing the daunting task of dueling with Verlander, he didn't flinch once. And when two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum came out of the bullpen to replace him in the sixth, Zito ran off to a roaring standing ovation and offered a quick tip of his cap before disappearing into the dugout.

During his 2012 transformation back to reliable starter, the 33-year-old Zito never wanted the focus to be on him or how he's accomplished this remarkable comeback but rather what he could add to make the Giants a winner and playoff contender again. And, possibly, win another World Series ring along the way.

Nobody is questioning Zito's talents now. His line of one run on six hits, three strikeouts and a walk in 5 2-3 innings was hardly spectacular - but it rarely is for Zito. He is doing just what manager Bruce Bochy asks of him: giving the Giants a chance to win.

``Especially in the down times, he could not have been more of a high-class, respectful, dignified professional,'' Giants CEO Larry Baer said. ``I think the reason 43,000 are cheering Barry are the reasons that all of us in the front office and clubhouse are so ecstatic about, is good things happen to good people. The temptation in sports is to blame somebody else when things go down - the pitching coach or the manager, the ballpark, the league, the this, the that - he never once (did). He always said, `It's on me, and I'm going to own it and figure it out.' And here we are.''

Zito even added an RBI single in the fourth, following up his bunt base hit in Friday's win, as Giants starting pitchers drove in a run for the fourth straight game.

This is the ultimate win for Zito, years in the making. Not that he will say it quite that way. That's not how he operates.

When a struggling Zito was told he wasn't going to be on the postseason roster in 2010, in one of Bochy's toughest conversations with a player, the pitcher immediately went to work. He threw a bullpen session, he kept himself ready if needed - but never got the chance. It hurt to the core, even if he never said it.

He tried different deliveries and pitching motions, he added a cutter to his repertoire to give him four solid pitches to keep hitters guessing.

In front of a sellout crowd at AT&T Park on this night, he pitched first to chants of ``Barry! Barry!'' and later to hollers of ``Zito! Zito!'' Who could have seen this memorable World Series moment coming for Zito, only two years after all the boos, from every direction, in his home ballpark?

The Giants have won Zito's last 14 starts, and he hasn't lost since Aug. 2 against the Mets. Zito went 15-8 this season for his most victories since joining the Giants

``He's kind of been our lucky charm,'' Bochy said. ``Fourteen games now we've found a way to win his ballgames. He's just had great focus out there.''

With the Giants, Zito has never been the dominant pitcher he had been across the bay as a member of Oakland's Big Three with Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder. Fans quickly gave up hope of Zito turning things around when he went 43-61 over his first five seasons with the Giants.

In a strange turn of roles, it was Lincecum - who pitched the Game 5 World Series clincher against the Rangers in 2010 - who came in for Zito. Lincecum credits the veteran pitcher for showing him how to better handle the struggles, like this season when The Freak fell into a long funk.

``It was great. Obviously he's riding the highs right now,'' Lincecum said. ``He did great his last outing and once again did a great job for us today. He's got to go against Verlander and that's a tough guy to match up against, but he did his job. He just focused on what he had to do.''

Lincecum came through, too. He pitched 2 1-3 perfect innings of relief, striking out five.

Lincecum's outing marked the first time one Cy Young Award winner relieved another in the World Series since Baltimore's Jim Palmer came in for Mike Flanagan in 1983 against the Philadelphia Phillies, according to STATS LLC.

Zito and Lincecum shared a nice moment after this one.

``He's a lot tougher than people think and he's got a lot of pride and respect for the game,'' general manager Brian Sabean said of Zito. ``He really wanted to be out there.''

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Nationals Roundup: Nats' spirited comeback falls short in rubber match against Cubs

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Nationals Roundup: Nats' spirited comeback falls short in rubber match against Cubs

The Washington Nationals lost to the Chicago Cubs, 6-5, Sunday to drop their record to 19-27.

Consider these news and notes as Washington hits the road for New York: 

Players Notes:

NATIONALS: 

Anthony Rendon gave Washington's offense a much-needed lift in the 6th launching a 3-run homer off Kyle Hendricks. After an initial rusty patch when returning from the injured list, he is back to his normal self and one of the most dangerous hitters in the National League.

Things continue to unravel for starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. The veteran lasted just three innings Sunday night, allowing four hits, three runs and three walks. Just 30 of his 64 pitches were thrown for strikes. 

Howie Kendrick isn't showing any signs of slowing down. The 35-year-old blasted a laser home run to left to pull the Nats to within one run in the 7th. So far this season, Kendrick is hitting a long-ball every 15 at-bats. 

CUBS: 

Kyle Hendricks had it going up until the sixth inning when one Anthony Rendon swing made it a two-run ballgame. Hendricks pitched 5.2 innings allowing four runs on six hits. 52 of his 83 pitches were thrown for strikes. 

Anthony Rizzo blasted a 385-foot home run in the third, good for his 11th of 2019. 

Chicago's relief pitching took care of business after Hendricks' night was done. The combination of Brandon Kintzler, Xavier Cedeno, and Steve Cishek held the Nats to just three hits down the stretch. 

Injuries: 

RP Justin Miller: shoulder, expected to be out until at least May 31

SP Anibal Sanchez: hamstring, expected to be out until at least May 27

OF Andrew Stevenson: back, expected to be out until at least May 24

RP Tony Sipp: oblique, expected to be out until at least May 20

1B Matt Adams: shoulder, expected to be out until at least May 22

1B Ryan Zimmerman: foot, expected to be out until at least May 23

RP Koda Glover: elbow, expected to be out until at least May 25

RP Trevor Rosenthal: viral infection, Expected to be out until at least May 21

RP Austen Williams: shoulder, expected to be out until at least Jun 13

Coming Up:

Monday, 5/20: Nationals @ Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET, Citi Field 

Tuesday, 5/21: Nationals @ Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET, Citi Field 

Wednesday, 5/22: Nationals @ Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET, Citi Field 

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

 

When is the 2019 French Open? Date, Time, Field, Bracket, TV Channel

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When is the 2019 French Open? Date, Time, Field, Bracket, TV Channel

The break between the Australian Open and the French Open is far too long. But, like always the 2019 French Open is a dynamic tournament on the calendar, and besides Rafael Nadal winning the men's singles bracket, there is nothing for certain at Roland-Garros.

Hosted in Paris, France, Roland-Garros is the second stop of the Grand Slams from May 26 to June 9. The tournament will be broadcast on Tennis Channel and NBC. 

This season brings in a plethora of storylines, but most importantly it features the return of Roger Federer to clay. The 20-time major champion has missed the previous three French Opens to try and preserve his body instead of playing on one of the hardest court surfaces. And when Nadal, an 11-time Franch Open winner, has laid his claim to this major who can blame Federer. 

Federer has only won at Roland-Garros once (2009). He has won at all other majors at least five times. 

On the women's side this marks the first repeat major for Serena Williams since the birth of her daughter, Olympia. In the 2018 French Open, Williams made it to the Round of 16. 

That year Simona Halep broke threw her first ever major title on clay as being ranked No. 1 for several month. Since she has struggled at the Grand Slams, not advancing back the Round of 16 in the three following majors. As the defending champ this could be where Halep returns to form. 

    When is the 2019 French Open?

    The 2019 French Open runs from Sunday, May 26 to Sunday, June 9.

    Matches start at 5:00 a.m. ET for First Round through the Round of 16. Quarterfinal matches start at 7:00 a.m. ET on June 4 and 5. The women's semifinals are on June 6 at 8:00 a.m. ET. The men's semifinals are June 7 at 6:00 a.m. ET. Both the women's final (June 8) and the men's final (June 9) are at 9:00 a.m. ET.

    Qualifying for the tournament is from May 20-24. The qualifying tournament will determine the final 16 men's singles spots and the final 12 spots for the women's. 

    2019 French Open Men's Singles Field (128 slots):

    Player, country (ATP world ranking as of April, 15)

    -Novak Djokovic, Serbia (1)
    -Rafael Nadal, Spain (2)
    -Alexander Zverev, Germany (3)
    -Roger Federer, Switzerland (4)
    -Dominic Thiem, Austria (5)
    -Kei Nishikori, Japan (6)
    -Kevin Anderson, South Africa (7)
    -Stefanos Tsitsipas, Greece (8)
    -Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina (9)
    -John Isner, USA (10) - Withdrew due to injury
    -Marin Cilic, Croatia (11)
    -Karen Khachanov, Russia (12)
    -Borna Coric, Croatia (13)
    -Daniil Medvedev, Russia (14)
    -Milos Raonic, Canada (15)
    -Marco Cecchinato, Italy (16)
    -Nikoloz Basilashvili, Georgia (17)
    -Fabio Fognini, Italy (18)
    -Gael Monfils, France (19)
    -Denis Shapovalov, Canada (20)
    -David Goffin, Belgium (21)
    -Roberto Bautista Agut (22)
    -Kyle Edmund, Great Britain (23)
    -Diego Schwartzman, Argentina (24)
    -Alex de Minaur, Australia (25)
    -Giles Simon, France (26)
    -Pablo Carreno Busta, Spain (27)
    -Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria (28)
    -Frances Tiafoe, USA (29)
    -Richard Gasquet, France (30)
    -Lucas Pouille, France (31)
    -Laslo Djere, Serbia (32)
    -Felix Auger-Aliassimie, Canada (33)
    -Nick Kyrgios, Australia (34)
    -Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France (34)
    -Guido Pella, Argentina (35)
    -Stan Wawrinka, Switzerland (36)
    -Marton Fucsovics, Hungary (37)
    -Fernando Verdasco, Spain (38)
    -John Millman, Australia (39)
    -Phillipp Kohlschreiber, Germany (40)
    -Jeremy Chardy, France (41)
    -Mikhail Kukushkin, Kazakhstan (42)
    -Benoit Paire, France (43)
    -Jan-Lennard Struff, Germany (44)
    -Radu Albot, Moldova (45)
    -Andreas Seppi, Italy (46)
    -Christian Garin, Chile (47)
    -Dusan Lajovic, Serbia (48)
    -Pierre-Hugues Herbert, France (49)
    -Martin Klizan, Slovakia (50)
    -Joao Sousa, Portugal (51)
    -Hubert Hurkacz, Poland (52)
    -Matteo Ebden, Australia (53)
    -Damir Dzumhur, Bosnia and Herzegvina (54)
    -Matteo Berrettini, Italy (55)
    -Cameron Norrie, Great Britain (56)
    -Reilly Opelka, USA (57)
    -Adrian Mannarino, France (58)
    -Steve Johnson, USA (59)
    -Mackenzie McDonald, USA (60)
    -Jaume, Munar, Spain (61)
    -Leonardo Mayer, Argentina (62)
    -Robin Haase, Netherlands (63)
    -Ugo Humbert, France (64)
    -Taylor Fritz, USA (65)
    -Sam Querrey, USA (66)
    -Jordan Thompson, Australia (67)
    -Casper Ruud, Norway (68)
    -Yoshihito Nishioka, Japan (69)
    -Aljaz Bedene, Slovenia (70)
    -Malek Jaziri, Tunisia (71)
    -Taro Daniel, Japan (72)
    -Bernard Tomic, Australia (73)
    -Federico Delbonis, Argentina (74)
    -Hugo Dellin, Bolivia (75)
    -Ernests Gulbis, Lativa (76)
    -Mischa Zverev, Germany (77)
    -Marius Copil, Romania (78)
    -Juan Ignacio Londero, Argentina (79)
    -Prajnesh Gunneswaran, India (80)
    -Pablo Cuevas, Uruguay (81)
    -Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Spain (82)
    -Nicolas Jarry, Chile (83)
    -Guido Andreozzi, Argentina (84)
    -Denis Kudla, USA (85)
    -Jozef Kovalik, Slovakia (85)
    -Pablo Anujar, Spain (86)
    -Peter Gojowczyk, Germany (87)
    -Feliciano Lopez, Spain (88)
    -Janko Tipsarevic, Serbia (88)
    -Daniel Evans, Great Britian (89)
    -Andrey Rublev, Russia (90)
    -Miomir Kecmanovic, Serbia (91)
    -Bradley Klahn, USA (92)
    -Thomas Fabbiano, Italy (93)
    -Lloyd Harris, South Africa (94)
    -Jiri Vesely, Czech Republic (95)
    -Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Germany (95)
    -Lorenzo Sonego, Italy (96)
    -Ivo Karlovic, Croatia (97)
    -Tomas Berdeych, Czech Republic (98)
    -Ricardas Berankis, Lithuania (99)
    -Alexander Bublik, Kazakhstan (100)

    2019 French Open Women's Singles Field (128 slots):

    Player, country (WTA world ranking as of April, 15)

    -Naomi Osaka, Japan (1)
    -Simona Halep, Romania (2)
    -Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic (3)
    -Karolina Pliskova, Czech Republic (4)
    -Angelique Kerber, Germany (5)
    -Elina Svitolina, Ukraine (6)
    -Kiki Bertens, Netherlands (7)
    -Sloane Stephens, USA (8)
    -Asleigh Barty, Australia (9)
    -Aryna Sabalenka, Bulgaria (10)
    -Serena Williams, USA (11)
    -Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark (12)
    -Anastasija Sevastova, Latvia (13)
    -Madison Keys, USA (14)
    -Anett Kontaveit, Estonia (15)
    -Qiang Wang, China (16)
    -Julia Goerges, Germany (17)
    -Elise Mertens, Belgium (18)
    -Garbine Muguruza, Spain (19)
    -Belinda Bencic, Switzerland (20)
    -Caroline Garcia, France (21)
    -Daria Kasatkina, Russia (22)
    -Bianca Andreescu, Canada (23)
    -Su-Wei Hsieh, Chinese Taipei (24)
    -Donna Vekic, Croatia (25)
    -Lesia Tsurenko, Ukraine (26)
    -Carla Suarez Navarro, Spain (27)
    -Maria Sharapova, Russia (28)
    -Jelena Ostapenko, Lativa (29)
    -Mihaela Buzarnescu, Romainia (30)
    -Camila Giorgi, Italy (31)
    -Danielle Collins, USA (32)
    -Dominika Cibulkova, Slovakia (33)
    -Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia (34)
    -Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Bulgaria (35)
    -Sofia Kenin, USA (36)
    -Dayana Yastremska, Ukraine (37)
    -Yulia Putintseva, Kahzakstan (38)
    -Ajla Tomljanovic, Australia (39)
    -Petra Martic, Croatia (40)
    -Katerina Siniakova, Czech Republic (41)
    -Shuai Zhang, China (42)
    -Sasai Zheng, China (43)
    -Maria Sakkari, Greece (44)
    -Viktoria Kuzmova, Slovakia (45)
    -Johanna Konta, Great Britian (46)
    -Marketa Vondrousova, Czech Republic (47)
    -Barbora Strycova, Czech Republic (48)
    -Venus Williams, USA (49)
    -Alison Riske, USA (50)
    -Yafan Wang, China (51)
    -Alison van Uytvanck, Belgium (52)
    -Pauline Parmentier, France (53)
    -Amanda Anisimova, USA (54)
    -Alize Cornet, France (55)
    -Ons Jabeur, Tunsinia (56)
    -Ekaterina Alexandrova, Russia (57)
    -Daria Gavrilova, Australia (58)
    -Jristen Flipkens, Belgium (59)
    -Tatjana Maria, Germany (60)
    -Victoria Azarenka, Bulgaria (61)
    -Monica Puig, Puerto Rico (62)
    -Aleksandra Krunic, Serbia (63)
    -Polona Hercog, Slovenia (64)
    -Rebecca Peterson, Sweeden (65)
    -Kristina Mladenovic, France (66)
    -Tamara Zidansek, Slovenia (67)
    -Magdalena Rybarikova, Slovakia (68)
    -Evgeniya Rodina, Russia (69)
    -Vera Lapko, Bulgaria (70)
    -Andrea Petkovic, Germany (71)
    -Margarita Gasparyan, Russia (72)
    -Vitalia Diatchenko, Russia (73)
    -Anastasia Potapova, Russia (74)
    -Sara Sorribes Tormo, Spain (75)
    -Veronika Kudermetova, Russia (76)
    -Samantha Stosur, Australia (77)
    -Jessica Pegula, USA (78)
    -Kaia Kanepi, Estonia (79)
    -Viktorija Golubic, Switzerland (80)
    -Eugenie Bouchard, Canada (81)
    -Shelby Rogers, USA (81)
    -Jennifer Brady, USA (82)
    -Irina-Camelia Begu, Romania (83)
    -Taylor Townsend, USA (84)
    -Vera Zvonareva, Russia (85)
    -Katie Boulter, Great Britian (86)
    -Kristyna Pliskova, Czech Republic (87)
    -Iga Swiatek, Poland (88)
    -Magda Linette, Poland (89)
    -Mona Barthel, Germany (90)
    -Ekaterina Makarova, Russia (91)
    -Fiona Ferro, France (92)
    -Kateryna Kozlova, Ukraine (93)
    -Lin Zhu, China (94)
    -Johanna Larsson, Sweeden (95)
    -Ivana Jorovic, Serbia (96)
    -Madison Brengle, USA (97)
    -Luksika Kumkhm, Thailand (98)
    -Sorana Cirsta, Romania (99)
    -Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia (100)
    -Laura Siegemund, Germany (101)
    -Astra Sharma, Australia (102)
    -Dalila Jakupovic, Slovenia (103)
    -Misaki Doi, Japan (104)
    -Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Slovakia (105)
    -Karolina Muchova, Czech Repubilc (106)
    -Zarina Diya, Kazakhstan (107)

    2019 French Open Singles Brackets

    French Open Men's Singles Bracket:

    The 2019 French Open Bracket will be revealed May 20-23.

    French Open Women's Singles Bracket:

    The 2019 French Open Bracket will be revealed May 20-23.

    What is the 2019 French Open Tournament Schedule?

    The 2019 French Open will havethree weeks of on the court action. The generic schedule is as follows:

    -Monday, May 20: 4:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Qualifying
    -Tuesday, May 21: 4:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Qualifying
    -Wednesday, May 22: 4:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Qualifying
    -Thursday, May 23: 4:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Qualifying
    -Friday, May 24: 4:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Qualifying
    -Sunday, May 26: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's First Round
    -Monday, May 27: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's First Round
    -Tuesday, May 28: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's First Round
    -Wednesday, May 29: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Second Round
    -Thursday, May 30: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Second Round
    -Friday, May 31: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Third Round
    -Saturday, June 1: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Third Round
    -Sunday, June 2: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Round of 16
    -Monday, June 3: 5:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Round of 16
    -Tuesday, June 4: 8:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Quarterfinals
    -Wednesday, June 5: 8:00 a.m. ET: Men's and Women's Quarterfinals
    -Thursday, June 6: 9:00 a.m. ET: Women's Semifinals
    -Friday, June 7: 6:45 a.m. ET: Men's Semifinals
    -Saturday, June 8: 9:00 a.m. ET: Women's Final
    -Sunday, June 9: 9:00 a.m. ET: Men's Final

    The schedule of play for each day will be announced on RolandGarros.com

    How to Watch the 2019 French Open Tournament?

    The 2019 French Open will be broadcast on Tennis Channel and NBC. 

    First Round coverage on Day 1 and 2 of the main tournament will be on NBC and Tennis Channel. Tennis Channel will also broadcast the remainder of the tournament up until Friday, June 7 and the final day of the singles semifinals round. 

    NBC will also provide coverage on June 1 and 2 (Third Round and Round of 16 matches) and on June 6 and 7 (women's and men's semifinals). The women's and men's singles championship matches will be exclusively on NBC on June 8 and 9. 

    Television coverage starts at 5:00 a.m. ET and runs through 3:00 p.m. ET for the First Round through the Round of 16. Afterward, there are varying start times dependent on the weather and any potential delays. The finals are both expected to start at 9:00 a.m. ET on June 8 (women's) and June 9 (men's).