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Detroit stars were no match for Giants in sweep

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Detroit stars were no match for Giants in sweep

DETROIT (AP) They entered the World Series a collection of stars rivaling any team in baseball.

Then one by one, Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera fell short in the season's final test.

It ended with Cabrera at the plate, watching the third strike that finished Detroit's season. So close to their first championship since 1984, the Tigers were vanquished in a sweep few saw coming, losing four straight to the San Francisco Giants.

The finale was 4-3 in 10 innings. Cabrera homered in Game 4 on Sunday night, but Fielder's struggles persisted, and Verlander never had another chance to pitch after he was knocked around in Game 1.

``You remember this feeling all winter, and it makes you want to come back and try this again,'' Verlander said. ``I've lost twice, and it doesn't get easier. It gets harder. I don't want to do this a third time.''

Detroit lost in five games to St. Louis in the 2006 World Series. This showing was even worse.

In both years, the Tigers won the AL championship series in a sweep, then looked out of sorts in the Fall Classic. Detroit was shut out by the Giants in Games 2 and 3, and lost Sunday despite Cabrera's two-run homer in the third inning.

It was Cabrera's popup that wasted Detroit's best chance in Game 3 - and the Triple Crown winner made the last out of the series, striking out looking to end the 10th on Sunday.

``We could not find our game in the World Series,'' Cabrera said. ``We were looking in the whole series to get ahead, but they pitched good, they pitched great and they beat us.''

Before Game 3 on Saturday, there was still an old scorecard posted in the Detroit dugout at Comerica Park, left over from practice games the Tigers had played with instructional league players during the layoff between an ALCS sweep of the New York Yankees and the World Series. Those workouts were supposed to prevent rust, and the scorecard actually listed both Fielder and Cabrera as designated hitters in the same lineup - a sign of how informal the games were.

Two DHs? Neither player hit well enough in the World Series to merit that distinction. Cabrera was 3 for 13 and Fielder was 1 for 14.

``It is unfortunate, but we played as hard as we could. Losing to the World Series champions isn't too bad,'' Fielder said. ``We played good baseball, but they just beat us. We had a great season to get to the playoffs, and we played well to get to the World Series. You just don't get to write your own script.''

The Tigers had a chance to take control in Game 1 with Verlander on the mound in San Francisco. But he gave up five runs in four innings in what would be his only appearance of a series that didn't go at all as planned for Detroit.

``I'm a little bit flabbergasted to be honest with you,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``In both of those series, I never would have thought that we would have swept the New York Yankees, and I never would have thought that the Giants would have swept us, but it happened. It's a freaky game.''

The Tigers at least mounted one last comeback Sunday. Cabrera's wind-blown, two-run drive put Detroit up 2-1 for its first lead of the series. When Buster Posey gave the Giants a 3-2 lead with a sixth-inning homer, Detroit tied it immediately in the bottom half on a solo shot by Delmon Young.

But that was it.

The Tigers wouldn't score again, and the vaunted middle of their batting order wasn't heard from. After a leadoff walk in the eighth, Cabrera, Fielder and Young struck out in succession, and there was a sense that one more San Francisco run would win it.

Marco Scutaro delivered it, singling home the tiebreaking run in the 10th.

``For us to play like we did against this great club, I couldn't be prouder of these guys,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Now Detroit will have to come back next year and try again to reward owner Mike Ilitch with a title after his big spending. It was Ilitch who signed off on the $214 million deal that made Fielder a Tiger in the offseason.

``I'm disappointed for Mr. Ilitch. We wanted this bad for him,'' Leyland said. ``But when you've been in the game a long time, somebody wins and somebody loses.''

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Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

ESPN Fantasy Football expert Matthew Berry was at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere last weekend in Los Angeles, where he got the chance to interview the three Redskins rookies in attendance: Dwayne Haskins, Terry McLaurin, and Bryce Love. 

Berry, who was a guest of JP Finlay's on the Redskins Talk podcast on Thursday, has been a fan of the Burgundy and Gold since he was a kid, so he was eager to talk to three of the team's newest players and learn more about them.

It was during those interviews where Berry got a quick glimpse of a side of Haskins that now has Berry really excited.

"I thought what was really cool was... When I was interviewing McLaurin, Dwayne Haskins came in and interrupted the interview to give him some crap," he told Finlay. "It was really a wonderful moment to see. Obviously, they know each other very well from Ohio State, but just the fact that they felt comfortable enough and he wanted to come over and mess with him a little bit and have some fun, I was impressed with that."

Once Haskins left, Berry explained how he asked McLaurin about the interaction. Redskins fans will like McLaurin's answer.

"That's Dwayne, Dwayne is being a leader," McLaurin said, per Berry. 

Haskins did something similar to Love during Love's interview as well. Berry even caught up with Colts receiver Parris Campbell, who also played with the QB at Ohio State, to inquire about the 15th overall pick. 

"I asked him, 'Listen, I'm a diehard Redskins fan, what am I getting?'" Berry said. "He couldn't have been more effusive. 'You're not only getting a guy who puts the ball where you want it, but you're getting a leader. You're getting a guy who makes sure everyone in the huddle is included.'"

You can be skeptical of how much these little moments mean, and that's fair. Ultimately, how quickly Haskins picks up Jay Gruden's playbook and how accurate his arm turns out to be will factor more into his success in the NFL than being able to joke around a bit with some of his guys.

But you can also hope that these little moments are hints of a bigger personality and approach, a look into an athlete who can get a football team to buy into him. That's the side Berry is on.

"I thought that was really cool, and just showed somebody who's very comfortable in the leadership position and who's trying to be inclusive of everyone," he said. "It's early in the process, but I have yet to hear somebody on or off the record say something bad about Dwayne Haskins."

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

For Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics, last season's heartbreak in the WNBA Finals is only fuel for another potential postseason run in 2019. 

"That's something I don't think I'll ever let go," Washington's star forward told Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. "It's always tough when you get to that Finals and you can't finish it off. But I think it's something that can fuel you. You don't want to let it just bring you down and depress you and make it so you can't get over that hump."

"If you use it as fuel and motivation, it can help you get better. I think that's what we're all gonna do."

The Mystics reached their first WNBA Finals in franchise history in 2018 but ultimately lost to the Seattle Storm. Delle Donne, recently named in WNBA.com's GM survey as the favorite to win league MVP, is back for her third season in Washington and headlines a strong team that has the talent to compete for the title again.

Her status for Saturday's season opener against the Connecticut Sun is up in the air due to a left knee injury, but Delle Donne believes the Mystics will have another great season given the continuity on the roster from last season and the return of All-Star forward Emma Meesseman. 

"We feel great. We've got our core back," said Delle Donne. "And to be able to add a superstar like Emma to that roster is pretty scary. Especially with her style of play and the way that our team started playing last season, where it was such positionless basketball. Spreading the floor, just spreading it, making it easy for one another to attack, get some threes. She's just gonna add so much to that."

NBC Sports Washington will be broadcasting 10 Mystics home games during the 2019 WNBA season. For the full regular season schedule, click here.

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