Nationals

McIlroy, Donald share lead at 11 under in Dubai

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McIlroy, Donald share lead at 11 under in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Rory McIlroy moved to the top of the leaderboard with a 5-under 67 Friday in the second round of the Dubai World Championship.

The top-ranked golfer, who missed several makeable putts on the front nine and then saw an eagle putt roll past the hole on 14, is tied with Luke Donald (68) and Marc Warren (67) at 11-under 133.

``I continued driving the ball well today and gave myself plenty of opportunities,'' said McIlroy, who has already won the European and PGA tour money titles. ``Missed a couple of short ones on the front nine for birdies. But apart from that, it was a very solid round of golf and obviously in good position going into the weekend.''

Sergio Garcia, playing for the first time since having laser eye surgery, matched the course record with an 8-under 64.

Garcia started with four birdies on his first five holes and then had a string of birdies at the turn before holing a long putt for eagle on 14. But he shot into the water on 16 for a triple-bogey before recovering to finish with a birdie and eagle.

``Coming back from a long break, so trying to get some good vibrations going and I managed to finish better than that,'' said Garcia, who is tied for 18th.

Donald joined McIlroy and Warren at 11 under with a short birdie putt on the 18th. Warren had a chance take the outright lead, but his 12-foot putt on the 18th came up short.

``Obviously, haven't dropped a shot in 36 holes, so feel good about that,'' said Donald, who finished with four birdies in a bogey-free round. ``I had some opportunities, 10-foot, 15-footers on a few holes that I just misread. But that was a solid round of golf.''

Donald said he wasn't getting his approach shots as close to the pin as the first day, but made up for it with the putter, including a difficult birdie on No. 9 and nice par save on 12.

``When I have myself a little bit of trouble out on the course, I was able to recover with the putter,'' Donald said.

The 189th-ranked Warren, who has not won a tournament since 2007, matched the second-ranked Donald's opening birdie and had five more, including a 12-footer on the 16th to move him into a tie with McIlroy.

``It was nice to be the Scot in the pack with the Englishman and the Northern Irishman,'' Warren said. ``It's great to be in contention with guys like that. Looking down the leaderboard, it's a high-quality leaderboard and doesn't get any better anywhere in the world really.''

It was also a good day for the South Africans as 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (67) is only one stroke behind. He was joined at 134 by four-time tour winner Branden Grace (67).

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With 'Baby Shark' as his new walk-up song, Gerardo Parra broke out of his slump for the Nats

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With 'Baby Shark' as his new walk-up song, Gerardo Parra broke out of his slump for the Nats

WASHINGTON - When Gerardo Parra stepped into the batter’s box for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, everyone in the ballpark knew something was different with the 32-year-old outfielder.

His walk-up song, “Baby Shark”, drew the immediate attention of everyone in attendance. And it would not be the last thing that Washington Nationals fans remembered from Parra on the day.

“I wanted to put on something different,” Parra said postgame. “My [two-year-old daughter Aaliyah Victoria] loves that song. Before the game, I tried merengue, reggaeton, hip-hop, then I said, ‘You know what, I want to put in Baby Shark.’ I'm happy for that.”

After his performance against the Phillies in a 6-2 victory, “Baby Shark” should probably stick around as his walk-up song.

Parra was 0-for-23 when he came to the plate in the fourth inning. Before then his last hit came on June 1 against Cincinnati. Quickly Parra broke that hitless streak and doubled to plate the go-ahead run for the Nationals. He took a first-pitch slider from Zach Eflin and drove home Matt Adams, giving the Nats a 2-1 advantage.

Later in the game, he followed that up with a home run in the eighth inning as the Nats hit back-to-back jacks. It gave Parra, who started in the outfield for Victor Robles, his first multi-hit game since his June 1 appearance and his fourth such game on the Nationals roster.

But paired with his walk-up song, Parra’s sixth-inning assist to get out Bryce Harper is going to make him a fan favorite.  As Harper tried to go from first-to-third on a Scott Kingery single to shallow center, Parra scooped up the ball bare-handed to throw Harper out at third base. Without it there would have been no outs with runners on the corners and Patrick Corbin nearing the end of his start. Instead, the Nats cruised through the rest of the inning to preserve the lead. The Phillies appealed the play but to no avail.

“That's the only chance I had to get Harper,” Parra said. “I know he's an aggressive player and I tried to get everything perfect. Bare-handed, throw the ball as fast as I can. I think that changed the game.”

“It’s 'Mini-me,'” manager Davey Martinez, who played 16 years in the major leagues primarily as an outfielder, said about Parra after the game. “That’s what I tell him too. He came down [to the dugout after the play] and said, ‘You didn’t do that, you never did that.’ I go, ‘Too bad I ain’t got video of it…’ It was a tough play, barehanded, coming up firing. He’s really good, he’s a good outfielder.”  

With “Baby Shark” as his walk-up song Parra went 2-for-4 with a home run and a game-changing assist in a one-run ballgame. It looks like Parra has found his new walk-up song.

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Trey Mancini, the Orioles' lone bright spot, exits game after getting drilled with 92 MPH fastball

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Trey Mancini, the Orioles' lone bright spot, exits game after getting drilled with 92 MPH fastball

Trey Mancini, the Orioles' only hope at an All-Star, exited Baltimore's matinee against Oakland in the top of the first on Wednesday, after he was struck on the left elbow by a 92-mph fastball from the Athletics' starter Chris Bassitt.

Baltimore's Chris Davis pinch-ran for Mancini, who left the game almsot immediately after being hit. 

Baltimore announced on Twitter that Mancini exited the game with a left elbow contusion. 

Mancini, the Orioles' first baseman and outfielder, was a bright spot in a rather lackluster Baltimore lineup.

The only Oriole with a real chance at an All-Star selection, Mancini is batting .304 in 70 games and leads Baltimore with 84 hits, 18 doubles and 16 homers.

The 27 year-old also has one of the highest slugging percentages on the Orioles (.558).

Fans reacted with anguish on Twitter after Mancini exited the game.

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