Orioles

McKie leads Wake Forest past Xavier, 66-59

McKie leads Wake Forest past Xavier, 66-59

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Travis McKie scored 19 points and Wake Forest beat Xavier 66-59 on Wednesday night for its third straight win.

Codi Miller-McIntyre had 16 points, C.J. Harris added 15 and the Demon Deacons (7-5) erased their only deficit of the second half by scoring 12 straight points. They matched their longest winning streak under third-year coach Jeff Bzdelik.

Travis Taylor had 18 points - but just two in the second half - and 10 rebounds for the Musketeers (7-6).

They rallied from 11 points down and took a 49-48 lead on Jeff Robinson's jumper with just under seven minutes left.

But Xavier came up empty on eight straight possessions and went scoreless for 4 1/2 critical minutes, and the Demon Deacons took over.

Freshman Devin Thomas gave Wake Forest the lead back with a reverse layup on the next trip down court. Miller-McIntyre delivered the dagger with just under four minutes left when he rattled in a long 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to make it 57-49.

Xavier didn't get closer than seven the rest of the way, and Wake Forest made five of eight free throws in the final two minutes to seal it.

Thomas finished with a season-high 14 rebounds and drew a key charge that prolonged Xavier's untimely drought. Miller-McIntyre, considered the centerpiece of the Demon Deacons' highly regarded seven-man freshman class, had just his fourth double-figure game and first since Nov. 27 against Nebraska.

He helped the Demon Deacons claim their fourth three-game winning streak in two-plus seasons under Bzdelik. They haven't won four in a row since 2009-10, when Dino Gaudio was still in charge.

Xavier freshman Semaj Christon, who entered averaging 13.4 points, finished with 14 on 3-of-11 shooting but was 8 of 10 from the free-throw line.

Taylor had 16 points and seven rebounds in the first half and scored 14 of Xavier's first 20 points, but managed just one shot in the second half.

Neither team led by more than eight until the Demon Deacons assembled a 16-5 run that started in the first half and ended early in the second. Freshman Tyler Cavanaugh's open 3 a minute later made it 42-31.

But Wake Forest managed just one basket during the next 8 1/2 minutes while the Musketeers reeled off eight straight points during an 18-6 spurt. They took their first lead of the half at 49-48 on Robinson's long jumper with just under seven minutes left but managed just two field goals the rest of the way.

Robinson finished with 10 points for Xavier.

Wake Forest took a 2-1 lead in the series that resumed after year's hiatus. It began in 2010 as a tribute to Prosser, who took both schools to four NCAA tournaments apiece before his death in 2007 of a heart attack at age 56.

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Orioles clean house, fire 11 members of scouting and front office departments

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Orioles clean house, fire 11 members of scouting and front office departments

Baltimore Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias is dedicated to altering the direction of the organization and that was reciprocated Friday with the firing of 11 members of the scouting and front office departments.  

"We're in a period of change right now with the industry and we're in a period of change right now with the Orioles," Elias said. "Sometimes to make changes you've got to make changes."

Among those relieved were baseball operations director Tripp Norton, scouts Dean Albany, Jim Howard, John Gillette, Nathan Showalter, and Buck Showalter. 

Elias acknowledged the uphill battle ahead of filling numerous voids but insists it's just a part of the job 

"We're going to be very busy bringing people into this organization," he said. "This is just the organization moving along and adapting to the sport today."

Just one day removed from a judge confirming that the Orioles owe the Nationals nearly $300 million, Elias insisted this move isn't to save money.

"There are changes going on in the scouting business in terms of greater availability of information in general, video and data," Elias said. "There are instances where we will replace people's roles kind of man for man, head for head, spot for spot, but there's other instances where we're reconfiguring the way the scouts go about their business."

The O's will look completely different from this point out and players won't be the only changes.

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Sleep-deprived Nationals win one they probably shouldn’t have in Chicago behind Aníbal Sánchez

Sleep-deprived Nationals win one they probably shouldn’t have in Chicago behind Aníbal Sánchez

The clubhouse wears have never been packed so quickly. Washington was sprinting as a group to get out of Pittsburgh on Thursday night following another three-hour-plus game with a 1:20 p.m. local start looming in Wrigley Field on Friday.

Max Scherzer finished his postgame comments in less than four minutes, then quickly moved to get cleaned up and join the others. Most lockers were vacant by the time media members reached the clubhouse, which wasn’t long after the game ended. 

Despite the scramble for minutes saved, Friday was supposed to be a loss. Las Vegas knew. The players and management knew. It was a bad spot. Night game, onto a plane, then a day game against a team which played at home the previous afternoon, and was 44-19 there -- the second-best home record in the National League. 

And yet, Nationals 9, Cubs 3, and it wasn’t that close.

Some bloops fell, some situations turned out lucky. Though, Aníbal Sánchez dominated. No voodoo or charms were involved.

He went through 8 ⅓ innings before being removed after 112 pitches. He was provided a shot to finish the game -- just 15 National League pitchers have a complete game this season -- but couldn’t. A rare Anthony Rendon throwing error cost him an out, then his opportunity for a solo close to the afternoon in Chicago.

Sánchez threw 31 four-seam fastballs, 31 cutters and 28 “splitters” among his 112 pitches. He worked as a marionettist, pulling strings to change positions and outcomes throughout the day. Matt Grace finished the game. No high-end reliever was used, resetting a bullpen which had to cover five innings in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

The offense beat up Jon Lester. He didn’t make it out of the fifth inning. Everyone in the lineup -- including Sánchez -- picked up a hit. Trea Turner’s single extended his on-base streak to 30 games.

Sánchez’s work piggybacked on what the other starters did against woeful Pittsburgh. Nationals starters have allowed two earned runs in the first five games of this seven-game road trip. The offense has averaged 8.2 runs in that span. It’s hard to fathom they lost once with both sides operating in such fashion.

All of this is just a continuation of a massive turnaround. Washington is 52-26 since its nadir May 24. Only the Dodgers -- who host the Yankees on Friday night -- have a better record in that span, and by just a half-game. They have won 10 of 12 and 13 of 17. Fivethirtyeight.com now gives the Nationals a 90 percent chance to make the postseason (this includes the wild-card game).

Wins like Friday emphatically move that needle. The Cubs are trying to wind their way into the postseason. They were also set up for a clear advantage thanks to the schedule. Instead, Sánchez, throwing as slow as 68 mph and as fast as 91, controlled the day, the offense rolled through the afternoon and everyone was ready for bed after a surprise win.

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