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Giants can't allow 49ers to get to Manning again

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Giants can't allow 49ers to get to Manning again

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The NFC title game was the low point for the New York Giants' offensive line last season.

While Tom Coughlin's team won the contest and went on to win the Super Bowl, most of the linemen recall it was the game they let quarterback Eli Manning down, literally.

Or as guard Kevin Booth put it: the game the line almost got ``Eli killed.''

Manning was sacked six times and hit six other times in the 20-17 overtime victory. The exhilaration of winning was coupled with more than a certain amount of soreness walking off the field. His uniform bore the signs of the attack: grass stains, mud and anything else that was on the field.

When the Giants (3-2) meet the 49ers (4-1) in San Francisco on Sunday in their first matchup since the conference championship, protecting Manning will be the No. 1 priority for Pat Flaherty's offensive line.

``That game was certainly something that we thought about all (offseason) even though we won the Super Bowl and we beat them in that game,'' guard Chris Snee said Wednesday. ``We still walked away saying that we didn't play well, we didn't do our job up front. That can motivate you though the offseason.''

Manning, who earned his second Super Bowl MVP in beating the Patriots in the title game, downplayed the hits, particularly in relation to the number of passes he threw that day. He unloaded a career-high 58 for 316 yards and two touchdowns, including what was then a go-ahead 17-yarder midway through the fourth quarter to current 49er Mario Manningham on a third-and-15 play.

``We also had 64 dropbacks last year,'' Manning said. ``You throw the ball that many times, you're going to take hits. Hopefully, we can have a good balance of the run and pass. You're going to get hit sometimes playing quarterback. You don't worry about that. Hopefully, you'll have enough time to get the ball out for the routes to develop and guys are getting open.''

The offensive line has done an outstanding job this season, limiting opponents to five sacks. Manning has had three games where he hasn't been sacked. The 49ers, however, have one of the top defenses in the league. They're No. 2 overall, giving up an average of 81.4 yards rushing and 181.2 passing.

Opponents have gained an average of 3.98 yards on first down - best in the league - and scored on just 22.2 percent of their possessions - third best overall.

``They have a good defense,'' center David Baas said. ``You've got to give them credit. They touched Eli way too many times, so that's something that we've got to focus on. Eli is tough and I feel like he's definitely somebody that will stand in there no matter what. But that's our job. We've got to keep him clean.''

Left tackle Will Beatty said the line has watched videotapes of last year's conference championship but he noted the 49ers are not the same team. They have some new schemes and new stunts.

``You still got to go out there and have fun,'' Beatty said. ``It's still a game. You're not looking at them as they're unstoppable. They're not looking at it as we're unstoppable. So, it's men going out there playing the game they love to play.''

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said he remembers seeing Manning getting up after every hit and competing.

``He is a magician,'' Harbaugh said. ``The things that he gets out of, gets into, the throws that he makes, things that he sees when he is able to execute, those are the words I would use to describe him. Also just a football player.

``That's about the highest compliment you can give a football player cause it encompasses so many things. That's the way we look at him.''

The Giants anticipate another hard-hitting game. Both contests against San Francisco last season were played at a very high tempo, and the 49ers seemingly are on a roll after outscoring the Jets and Bills, 79-3, over the past two weeks.

``They're playing awesome, they're playing great and they, especially the last two weeks, definitely played together,'' Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck said. ``Offense, special teams, defense and their coaching staff has them playing at a very high level and everybody knows about their talents.

``We've definitely got to go up there and play one of our best games to have an opportunity to beat them. But we have talent in this room and we'll be ready to play and I think it's going to be a great game.''

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NOTES: TE Martellus Bennett (knee), DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps), LB Chase Blackburn (hip), RB Andre Brown (concussion), WR Hakeem Nicks (foot-knee), S Kenny Phillips (knee) and CB Corey Webster (hand-hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. ... Coach Tom Coughlin said Nicks is improving and might practice this week. ... The Giants signed former Rutgers RB Joe Martinek to the practice squad.

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Orioles make home run history Tuesday night in more ways than one

Orioles make home run history Tuesday night in more ways than one

The Orioles pitching staff has struggled with the long ball all season long, and it culminated in a couple of historic moments at the ballpark.

First, it was Gary Sanchez joining his teammate Gleyber Torres in torturing Orioles pitchers this season, launching his eighth home run of the year against the O’s alone. 

Torres reached that mark earlier in the series, making them the first pair to reach eight home runs in the same season against the Orioles since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. 

Anytime you’re the first to do something since literally Ruth and Gehrig, two of the greatest home run hitters in the history of the sport, you’re clearly doing something right (or wrong, if you’re an Orioles fan).

What’s especially concerning for the Orioles is how quickly Torres and Sanchez reached this mark, needing less than two months to accomplish what no one else had in an entire season for the last 88 years.

The other piece of history made also came with shocking speed in 2019.

In April, the Orioles became the first franchise to allow at least 50 home runs before May 1. The unfortunate thing for them is they reached the mark with a week and a half to spare.

That trend has continued into May, and the pitching staff now has another claim to fame.

In the sixth inning, the Yankees crushed their third bomb of the evening, bringing the Orioles home runs allowed total to 100 on the season. Per ESPN, the previous fastest team to allow that many was the 2000 Royals, who needed 57 games to make history.

The Orioles did it in just 48. They aren’t just setting records; they’re obliterating them.

With the way the season has gone so far, it’s not hard to imagine the Orioles setting a few more benchmarks for futility in 2019.

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Juan Soto isn't a HR hitter, the Mets broadcast said. Then he immediately went upper deck

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Juan Soto isn't a HR hitter, the Mets broadcast said. Then he immediately went upper deck

Juan Soto did something Tuesday night at Citi Field that made the whole broadcaster's jinx theory come to life. 

During Soto's 2nd inning at-bat, former MLB first baseman, five-time All-Star, 1979 co-NL MVP, two-time World Series champion, and current Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez went out on a limb to describe the 20-year-old phenom. 

He is not a home run hitter even though he had nice power here last year.

So, in a rather timely fashion, the lefty launched a moonshot, 410-foot solo home run to right field for Washington's first run of the game. 

In fairness, Hernandez was just trying to explain that Soto isn't a home run hitter because of the type of swing he demonstrates, one that typically produces more line drives than long-balls. 

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