Nationals

Steelers need to lower the flags against Titans

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Steelers need to lower the flags against Titans

NEW YORK (AP) When the Pittsburgh Steelers are around, flags fly.

Despite playing one fewer game than most teams, the Steelers lead the AFC in penalties with 37. It's something they must clean up soon.

Fortunately for Pittsburgh (No. 9 in the AP Pro32), the opponent this week is Tennessee (No. 30), perhaps the most disappointing team in the conference. When they meet Thursday night in Music City, the Steelers (2-2) will be a 5 1/2-point choice over the Titans (1-4), whose main problem is a sieve of a defense that has yielded a league-high 181 points.

If the Steelers don't stop attracting those yellow handkerchiefs, though, taking advantage of Tennessee's inability to stop anyone will be difficult.

``They're just small mental errors,'' Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said. ``It's a part of football. Sometimes it happens. That's something that we've got to tighten up if we want to be the team we want to be.''

Handing the opposition more than 86 yards per game in penalties just won't cut it, especially on the road, where the Steelers are 0-2 and played their worst game of the season - and perhaps several seasons - in a sloppy 34-31 loss at Oakland.

The Titans will take anything anyone wants to hand over, and backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck - Jake Locker is out with a left shoulder injury - will be comforted by the absence of star safety Troy Polamalu (right calf).

``We're all trying to get better,'' Titans safety Michael Griffin said. ``In the past, you started seeing a lot of finger pointing, things of that nature. Right now we're all still together.''

And still losing together.

STEELERS, 17-13

No. 28 Oakland (plus 9) at No. 2 Atlanta

Raiders are rested after bye, but still mediocre. Falcons are a lot better than that.

BEST BET: FALCONS, 38-15

No. 15 Denver (plus 2 ) at No. 13 San Diego, Monday night

Both teams showed defensive weaknesses a week ago. More of same ...

UPSET SPECIAL: BRONCOS, 31-28

No. 7 New York Giants (plus 5) at No. 3 San Francisco

Rematch of super NFC title game in January. This time, Niners squeeze through.

49ERS, 24-21

No. 12 Green Bay (plus 3 1/2) at No. 1 Houston

After Benson injury, Aaron Rodgers might throw 50 times. Watch out for J.J. Watt, Aaron.

TEXANS, 33-27

No. 22 Detroit (plus 5) at No. 11 Philadelphia

Eagles don't win anything easily this season.

EAGLES, 21-20

No. 18 Dallas (plus 3 1/2) at No. 4 Baltimore

Difficult month for Cowboys starts off poorly.

RAVENS, 22-17

No. 5 New England (minus 3 1/2) at No. 15 Seattle

Tough place to visit, but Patriots might be ready to go on long roll.

PATRIOTS, 27-16

No. 14 Cincinnati (minus 2) at No. 32 Cleveland

Might have gone with Browns had Bengals not lost last week.

BENGALS, 27-20

No. 22 Indianapolis (plus 3) at No. 24 New York Jets

After huge win, Colts won't be so amped at Meadowlands.

JETS, 14-13

No. 29 Kansas City (plus 3 1/2) at No. 25 Tampa Bay

Could be a difficult game to watch, especially for Chiefs fans.

BUCCANEERS, 19-13

No. 17 St. Louis (plus 3 1/2) at No. 20 Miami

Rams look great at home. South Florida isn't home.

DOLPHINS, 20-19

No. 27 Buffalo (plus 5) at No. 10 Arizona

Bills lost wandering in the desert? Not quite, but close.

CARDINALS, 20-14

No. 8 Minnesota (OFF) at No. 19 Washington

RG3's health takes this one off board. If he plays, go with Skins. If not, try Vikings.

REDSKINS 23-20 with Griffin

VIKINGS, 20-13 without Griffin

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2012 RECORD:

Against spread: 5-9 (28-47-2). Straight up: 9-5 (43-34)

Best Bet: 3-1-1 against spread, 4-1 straight up.

Upset special: 3-2 against spread, 2-3 straight up.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3

ATLANTA -- Josh Donaldson's bases-loaded single off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning lifted the Atlanta Braves over the Washington Nationals 4-3 on Friday night after Luke Jackson allowed a tying, two-run homer to Victor Robles in the top half.

Ronald Acuna Jr., who had three hits, led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk off Rodney (0-3) and took second on Dansby Swanson's single. Freddie Freeman walked on four pitches, loading the bases.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez brought in left fielder Juan Soto as a fifth infielder, including three on the left side against the right-handed hitting Donaldson.

Donaldson hit a 2-0 pitch over Robles to center-field warning track, and the Braves boosted their NL East lead to 6 games over the second-place Nationals. Atlanta had lost its previous five home games against Washington.

Robles' homer went 446 feet to left, giving Jackson his seventh blown save in 24 chances.

Julio Teheran gave up one hit through five scoreless innings and retired 14 consecutive hitters before pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra singled with one out in the sixth. Anthony Rendon chased Teheran with a two-out RBI single.

Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin couldn't win on his 30th birthday while paired with catcher Yan Gomes, who turned 32. Corbin and Gomes became only the second pitcher-catcher tandem to start together on their birthdays since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Chicago Cubs pitcher Dave Hillman and catcher Jim Fanning did it against Pittsburgh on Sept. 14, 1957.

Corbin allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out Ozzie Albies with the bases loaded in the first and fanned Albies to end the fifth with two out.

Albies hit a two-out double in the fourth and scored on Austin Riley's double. Freeman was 2 for 20 in his career against Corbin before his RBI single in the fifth.

Acuna's RBI double against Tanner Rainey gave the Braves a 3-1 lead.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer, on the 10-day IL since July 10 with an injury originally announced as a mid-back strain, was given a cortisone shot on Tuesday to address inflammation in the bursa sac under his right shoulder blade. Scherzer still has some discomfort and must throw a bullpen session before cleared to pitch in a game. With Scherzer unavailable, RHP Austin Voth is expected to start in Sunday night's series finale.

Braves: RHP Patrick Weigel, who had Tommy John surgery in 2017, was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his major league debut Saturday. RHP Wes Parsons also was recalled from Gwinnett. RHPs Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint were optioned to Gwinnett.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-6, 3.71) is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts this season against the Braves, his former team.

Braves: Rookie RHP Mike Soroka (10-1, 2.24) will try to win his sixth straight decision on Saturday night. The 21-year-old right-hander became the youngest pitcher in franchise history to be selected an All-Star.

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A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM after he served in the role on an interim basis since April 2. 

Let's take a look back at the moves which earned Sheppard the long-term GM job:

April 2: The Wizards fire GM Ernie Grunfeld. Tommy Sheppard takes over the role on an interim basis. 

June 20: The Wizards select Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Later in the evening, Washington acquires Jonathan Simmons and the draft rights to Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield from the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons was placed on waivers on July 7.

July 5: The Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones, and a 2022 second-round draft pick as part of the deal which sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. 

July 6: The Wizards trade Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles and acquire Davis Bertans from the Spurs in a three-team deal with Brooklyn and San Antonio, sending the draft rights of Aaron White to the Nets. 

July 7: The Wizards re-sign center Thomas Bryant on a three-year deal and trade guard Tomas Satoransky to the Bulls for a 2020 second-round pick.

July 9: The Wizards sign guard Ish Smith to a two-year deal.

July 10: The Wizards sign guard Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal. 

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