Orioles

Green's 3-pointer pushes Spurs past Lakers 84-82

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Green's 3-pointer pushes Spurs past Lakers 84-82

LOS ANGELES (AP) Danny Green hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds left, Tony Parker scored 19 points and the San Antonio Spurs beat Los Angeles 84-82 Tuesday night in the Lakers' first loss since firing coach Mike Brown.

After Pau Gasol missed a 3-pointer, Tiago Splitter's hustle prevented the Lakers from controlling the rebound before the buzzer sounded on Los Angeles' first game since hiring Mike D'Antoni late Sunday night. Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff ran the team for the third straight game.

Tim Duncan had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who improved the Western Conference's best record to 7-1 thanks to Green's third 3-pointer of the night.

Kobe Bryant had 28 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers, who dropped to 3-5 after committing 17 turnovers on a poor shooting night. Dwight Howard had 13 points and 15 rebounds.

The Lakers found another kind of drama in their first game since the club surprisingly bypassed 11-time NBA champion Phil Jackson to hire D'Antoni, who is expected to arrive in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The Lakers' crowd cheered for Bickerstaff, but never broke out into the ``We want Phil!'' chants that occurred in their past two games.

Both teams struggled with poor shooting until the final minutes, when Antawn Jamison's 3-pointer from the corner put the Lakers ahead 78-77 with 2:10 to play. Duncan reclaimed the lead with a jumper, but Gasol hit two free throws with 1:36 left and added an elbow jumper.

Duncan trimmed the lead to one point before Metta World Peace missed an open jumper in the final minute. The Spurs worked the ball to Green out of a timeout, and the guard confidently drained his 3-pointer, accidentally bumping Bryant during his celebration.

The Lakers' final possession developed poorly, and the 7-foot Gasol had to force up a 3-point attempt.

Despite the loss, several days of upheaval finally abated Tuesday for the Lakers - even though their new coach still isn't in town. The Lakers haven't said when D'Antoni will formally take over the team, and Bickerstaff could still be running the bench Friday when the Phoenix Suns visit Staples Center.

And though Jackson has criticized the Lakers' handling of his candidacy, the players who had been eager to play for the Zen Master seem equally eager to line up for D'Antoni. Bryant and Steve Nash enthusiastically endorsed D'Antoni's hiring at the morning shootaround, with Bryant downplaying the notion that the Lakers' defense would suffer during the offense-minded coach's tenure.

The Lakers played without point guard Steve Blake, who has a minor abdominal strain. Blake had started the Lakers' last five games in place of Nash, who will be out for another week or more with a small fracture in his leg.

Darius Morris had one point on 0-for-5 shooting in his first career NBA start in Blake's place, while veteran backup Chris Duhon managed five points. The Lakers played without a point guard down the stretch, with World Peace defending Parker while Bryant largely orchestrated the Lakers' offense.

While the Lakers wait for a regime change on the bench, they've improved the effort that partly led to Brown's firing - and the Lakers aren't running Brown's much-debated, Princeton-based offense, sticking largely to pickup-ball sets on offense since the coach's departure.

NOTES: The Lakers barely exceeded the 80 points they scored in February 1999 during their lowest-scoring performance ever in their first 146 meetings with the Spurs. ... DeJuan Blair scored six points for the Spurs while playing on a bruised left knee. ... World Peace celebrated his 33rd birthday. The eccentric forward said he has enjoyed multiple birthday parties over the past few days. ... Floyd Mayweather Jr., Minnesota Vikings lineman Matt Kalil and David Beckham attended the game.

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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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What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

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USA Today Sports

What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer had a heated exchange in the Nationals dugout Friday night.

It was another not-so-great moment in an otherwise unspectacular season for the Nats so far.

Things like this often appear worse than they are based on what we can see, not hear, on television. In any case, it has fans and pundits talking about a perceived off-the-field issue instead of the actual game. There's nothing "good" about this, but there are important factors that are "bad" and ones that are "not bad."

Davey Martinez, Strasburg and Scherzer already said this has been settled and wasn't a big deal in the first place, but for a manager who's already faced some scrutiny this year for how he manages his pitchers, having two of them go at it in the dugout isn't ideal.

It also doesn't present the best optics for a team that came out of the All-Star Break 5.5 games back of the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals need to build some momentum heading into the dog days of summer, and after a lackluster first half, this isn't how anybody would want to start the second half.

This was also Strasburg's first start back from a month-long stint on the disabled list. Ryan Zimmerman just rejoined the club as well. Things are shaping up to make for a solid second-half run, but all this does is detract from that.

The Nationals also just hosted the first All-Star Game in Washington since 1969. Having something like this happen in the dugout where everybody can see it takes away from some of that good publicity.

But there are also positives, or at least non-negatives, to take from this. Scherzer has always been ultracompetitive, and as the best pitcher on the staff, he needs to harness that into leadership. With Strasburg coming off a rough inning, Scherzer may have thought he needed a little tough love from a veteran. There's nothing wrong with that. Strasburg, to his credit, has never been one to focus too much on himself, so if there's anyone who can take something like this constructively, it'd be him.

This isn't Jonathan Paplebon fighting Bryce Harper for not running out a pop fly the day after the Nats were eliminated from playoff contention. These are two veteran guys who play the same position who are both competitive and want to win. It's akin to an older brother pushing his younger brother to do better. Strasburg even hinted at the family aspect after the game.

In the end, there's really nothing to see here. Frustration is part of the game. Talking it out is a part of remedying the frustration.

What really matters is tracking down the Braves and the Phillies. The Nationals can get started on that Sunday in the second game of a rain-shortened two-game series against the Braves.

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