Nationals

Rams, 49ers play to 24-24 tie

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Rams, 49ers play to 24-24 tie

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams left Candlestick Park unsure how to feel.

No win to celebrate, no loss to stew about and fuel a fresh week of practice and preparation.

Hmmmm, a rare, baffling tie.

Niners center Jonathan Goodwin compared Sunday's 24-24 finish to a three-hour scrimmage - just by a bunch of multimillionaires with a national audience watching and bettors fretting.

``First time ever,'' Goodwin said. ``Baseball as a kid, anything, I don't remember finishing a game tied. It almost felt basically like we got a practice.''

Neither team wanted this. Not the NFC West-leading 49ers, with a chance to separate themselves against a division rival. Or the Rams, eager to snap a three-game losing streak.

``It is a huge letdown,'' Rams running back Steven Jackson said.

Two typically sure-footed kickers missed in overtime as San Francisco and St. Louis played the NFL's first tie game in four years. The previous tie was between Philadelphia and Cincinnati, 13-13 in 2008. San Francisco played its first tie since 1986.

``I have to say, I've been doing this a while. I don't think I've ever been in a game like this,'' Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. ``As I told our guys, we had a number of chances to put the game away. And, unfortunately, we didn't.''

Greg Zuerlein kicked a 53-yarder, but the Rams were penalized 5 yards for delay of game - which holder Johnny Hekker said was his fault. Zuerlein tried again from 58 as Fisher played for the win, and missed wide right with 2:42 left in OT.

San Francisco's David Akers missed wide left on a 41-yard attempt that could have sealed it for the 49ers (6-2-1), who lost quarterback Alex Smith to a first-half concussion.

And just when it seemed the 49ers - and Akers' typically reliable left leg - would have one more chance to win it, San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis was flagged for holding Lance Kendricks on third down. That extended St. Louis' last drive, a costly mistake in a long list of them on an uncharacteristically sloppy day by coach Jim Harbaugh's team.

``I don't know what to make of this,'' Willis said. ``We have one of the best kickers in the game, and it came down to him at the end and he misses it. That tells you right there something wasn't right.''

Akers made a tying 33-yarder with 3 seconds left in regulation after Sam Bradford threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis with 1:09 remaining.

On the first play of OT, Bradford completed an 80-yard pass to Danny Amendola that took St. Louis (3-5-1) to the 2, but the play was called back for an illegal formation. Some 49ers fans got up to leave, then returned to their seats.

Frank Gore ran for a 20-yard touchdown with 8:23 to go in regulation just 17 seconds after backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick scurried 7 yards for a score. Kaepernick finished 11 for 17 for 117 yards and also had eight carries for 66 yards, calmly leading the Niners after it took several series to find his groove.

``It just feels like it's unfinished business,'' San Francisco cornerback Tarell Brown said.

Gore ran for 97 yards, while Michael Crabtree made five catches for 70 yards and a 14-yard touchdown from Smith before he left the game.

Amendola returned for the Rams following a three-game absence with a shoulder injury to make 11 catches for 102 yards. Bradford went 26 for 39 for 275 yards and two touchdowns.

Smith took a hard hit on the back of the neck from linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar after a scramble with 1:10 left in the first quarter. But the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft stayed in and completed his next five passes, including Crabtree's TD.

After the hit, Smith was sacked three plays later and also clobbered again on a fourth-and-1 keeper. Doctors indicated to Harbaugh that might have been the play that caused the injury.

Harbaugh said Smith would be evaluated this week per NFL concussion protocol. He wasn't available to speak to reporters. Smith, who has started 28 straight games, wound up 7 for 8 for 72 yards.

The 49ers didn't face Bradford in either meeting last season as the Rams quarterback missed six games with a high left ankle sprain. He had all kinds of extra opportunities this time.

``It's a weird feeling. I've never been a part of a game like that before,'' Bradford said. ``I think the mood in this locker room is disappointment.''

Late in the third period, the Rams benefited from Dashon Goldson's 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taking off his helmet. Then, defensive tackle Ray McDonald was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Bradford when he came in under the quarterback's chin, extending another Rams drive. Zuerlein kicked a 27-yard field goal.

The penalties and miscues were uncharacteristic of San Francisco's defense.

Crabtree's touchdown midway through the second quarter gave him a TD reception in five straight games against the Rams. It was his third touchdown in two games, and all of his team-leading four TD catches have come in the past five games.

Kaepernick took over as Smith went to the bench to be examined by medical personnel and soon left for the locker room.

One wild play late in the first half summed up this wacky day. Punter Hekker completed a 21-yard pass to safety Rodney McLeod from the end zone after Chris Culliver didn't cover McLeod. Hekker did it again in the fourth quarter and had a 118.8 passer rating on the day.

On the Rams' 14-play, 81-yard drive over the final minutes of regulation, Hekker faked an end-around and threw a 19-yard completion to Kendricks on fourth-and-8 from the Rams 33.

But the Rams' defense couldn't get a stop, allowing Kaepernick to get his team back into field-goal range for Akers to tie it.

The Rams played without a pair of starters held out for an unspecified team rules violation, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and wide receiver Chris Givens - and Fisher said afterward he isn't sure if they will play next week at home against the New York Jets.

The 49ers will regroup to face the Bears in prime time.

``It feels weird,'' safety Donte Whitner said. ``We're about wins around here.''

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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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