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Subway Series ends in dramatic fashion

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Subway Series ends in dramatic fashion

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Russell Martin and the homer-happy New York Yankees appeared a little out of practice when it came to celebrating a game-winning homer. Martin led off the ninth with his second homer of the game and the New York Yankees took advantage of some shoddy infield defense to beat the Mets 5-4 Sunday for a three-game sweep. The catcher rounded third as a sold out Yankee Stadium roared and jogged toward his joyous teammates waiting at the plate. He took a big hop and fell as he landed on the plate and grabbed his leg, putting a momentary stop to the bouncing party. "I tried to jump in the air to celebrate, and I got about 2 inches off the ground," Martin said. "But I still managed to touch home plate and it feels good." Martin's fall might've given his teammates a sudden reminder of what happened to Kendrys Morales. The Los Angeles Angels star broke his leg hopping on home plate during a walk-off win in May 2010 and missed almost two seasons. "I worried, yes," manager Joe Girardi said. "I saw him go down a little bit, but someone pulled him up and he walked quickly, so my worries went away." The homer on a full-count pitch off Jon Rauch (3-6) was the Yankees' first walk-off homer since Sept. 8, 2010. The Yankees took advantage of errors by David Wright and Omar Quintanilla to rally from a 3-0 deficit and take a 4-3 lead in the eighth on a single by Alex Rodriguez. But Rafael Soriano blew his first save since he started finishing games when Mariano Rivera was lost to season-ending knee injury. Soriano gave up a tying double in the ninth to slumping Mets first baseman Ike Davis, a defensive replacement in the eighth. He got some help keeping it tied 4-all from shortstop Jayson Nix, who threw to third to get the lead runner on a grounder by Quintanilla. "Any play he makes that's a heads-up play doesn't surprise me," Girardi said, "because he's been around the game and understands what he needs to do." Boone Logan (1-0) got two outs with runners on first and third for the win. The Yankees are 7-2 in June. The Yankees hit eight long balls in their first Subway Series sweep of the Mets in the Bronx since 2003 -- that series included a fourth, makeup game that was played at Shea Stadium as part of a two-stadium doubleheader. It was their first win in their last at-bat against the Mets since June 12, 2009, when Luis Castillo dropped Rodriguez's potential game-ending popup, allowing two runs to score. The Mets took a 3-0 lead against Andy Pettitte in the second inning with help from second baseman Robinson Cano's fielding error and Jonathon Niese pitched repeatedly out of trouble for much of the day to make it stand up for seven innings. "Definitely a tough one, the way Jon Niese threw the ball," Wright said. Pettitte gave the Yankees a scare in the sixth when he snared Scott Hairston's comebacker with his bare hand and threw him out. Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue raced out to the mound and after several minutes of deliberation and a few practice pitches, Pettitte remained. He retired the side in order then was greeted by a pat on the shoulder by Derek Jeter at the dugout. His left hand bandaged heavily, Pettitte said he'll be able to make his next start, which is scheduled to come after he turns 40 on June 15. X-rays of the hand were negative. "He's got an extra day here. So he should be OK," Girardi said. Girardi said Hiroki Kuroda will make his next scheduled start after he was hit on the foot by a sharp grounder Friday night. Trailing 3-0, in the seventh, Martin hit a two-run drive off the top of the wall in right field after Wright's throwing error extended the seventh inning. Many of the 49, 010 -- the third straight sellout -- paused to wait and see if the leaping Hairston caught the ball. "That was hard to take," Hairston said. "Guess a lot of those things happen in this ballpark." Martin, who was hitting .173 entering play May 25 has four homers in his past six games and 10 RBIs. He's raised his average to .216. "I'm starting to feel pretty comfortable at the plate," Martin said. "I made a couple of adjustments and, hopefully, I'll just keep doing what I've been doing now." Jeter led off the eighth with a slow hopper that went under Qunitanilla's glove and rolled into the outfield. Jeter was given a single and he hustled into second base with a headfirst dive on the error. Curtis Granderson then hit his second opposite field single of the game to left, off Bobby Parnell, to put runners on first and third. Mark Teixeira followed with a tying hit a day after he gave the Yankees the lead with a two-run homer. The Mets scored more than three runs against the Yankees for the first time in 11 games and for the first time in their past five games this season, but have lost six of seven overall. Making his 51st interleague start, matching Livan Hernandez for most all time, Pettitte raced through the top of the Mets order with only seven pitches in the first. He then needed 36 pitches in the second as the Mets scored three runs. He gave up three runs -- two earned -- and struck out eight in six innings. The Yankees put the leadoff batter on against Niese five times in seven innings but came up empty until the seventh. The Yankees hit into three double plays to help quash threats. Given an extra day of rest after leaving his most recent start with an accelerated heart rate, Niese appeared to get out of seventh inning when Andruw Jones hit a grounder to Wright. Wright spun and made the throw into the dirt. Martin followed with his homer. His home run in the ninth was the third walk-off homer of his career. NOTES: The Yankees reinstated pitcher Freddy Garcia from the bereavement list and sent Ryota Igarashi to Triple-A Scranton-WilkesBarre. ... Jeter has grounded into 11 double plays this season. He had 10 all last year. ... Rodriguez moved past Eddie Murray for seventh on the career RBIs list with 1,918.

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Did the Capitals solve their depth scoring issues in Friday's loss?

Did the Capitals solve their depth scoring issues in Friday's loss?

Friday’s loss to the Florida Panthers was disappointing in a number of ways for the Capitals, but some good may yet come from it with the emergence of the third line.

A poor performance in the opening frame led to Todd Reirden switching up his lines to start the second. No change had a greater effect than the addition of Jakub Vrana to the third line in place of Andre Burakovsky to play with Lars Eller and Brett Connolly.

The move yielded instant results.

Connolly scored his first goal of the season less than two minutes into the period and added an assist. Vrana also recorded a goal and an assist, while Eller had a three-point night with three assists.

“It was just to make something happen,” Eller said, “Not that [Burakovsky] did something wrong, but just to make something happen and it worked. We kept riding the wave from there on and got two in that period. That seemed to work so that was positive.”

Vrana, Eller and Connolly were three players who had been playing well for the Caps, but were just not producing.

Heading into Friday’s game, Vrana and Eller both had only one point apiece on the season. Connolly had four, but three of those points came earlier in the season while he was skating on the team’s top line.

Friday was his first goal of the season.

“It’s good to get a goal,” Connolly said. “Getting some assists and all that and being a factor on some goals, but it’s nice to see one go in. I’ve had a lot of chances to start the year, thought I’ve been playing well. Lot more shots, lot more chances than I had last year and throughout the last two seasons per game. So I feel I’m ahead of the game right now in terms of that.”

Depth scoring has been a major weakness for the Caps so far in the early season. Washington had gotten only two bottom six goals prior to Friday’s game, and both came in the team’s blowout win over Boston in the opener.

They needed a spark to get offense from the bottom six, and they just may have found it on Friday with that third line combination.

Don’t be surprised to see that Vrana-Eller-Connolly trio stick together in Vancouver for the Caps’ next game against the Canucks.

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Capitals have been their own worst enemy, and they were again on Friday

Capitals have been their own worst enemy, and they were again on Friday

The Capitals managed to earn a point on Friday in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, but the game felt like a missed opportunity for Washington. After giving up four goals in the first period, seven power plays including two 5-on-3s, and two power play goals, the Caps knew they had no one to blame but themselves for the loss.

“We were still not quite there maybe emotionally,” Lars Eller said.

At least not for the first period. The Caps allowed four goals in the opening 20 minutes to dig themselves into a 4-1 hole. Each goal came from the slot as the Caps had no control over the front of their own net.

“Just tough to start that way, to kind of dig ourselves a big hole,” Brett Connolly said. “Obviously, it’s good to come back and get a point but we don’t need to do that to ourselves. It takes a lot of energy to get back in that game.”

Washington battled back to tie the game at 4, but penalties ultimately derailed their momentum, allowing Florida to retake the lead.

After scoring three straight goals, the Caps took three minor penalties in the final three minutes of the second period.

Alex Ovechkin was called for interference on Aaron Ekblad as he made no attempt to play a loose puck that trickled past the Florida defenseman. He was clearly focused on delivering the hit and nothing else.

Less than a minute later, Eller was caught on the ice a tad early, and Washington was called for too many men.

“I see Backy coming for a change, they had full possession,” Eller said. “I don't see behind my back, I think the guys are telling me he has one skate over so I think it was an unnecessary call, but what am I going to say? It's a tough one.”

With 1:15 of a two-man advantage to work with, Jonathan Huberdeau scored the go-ahead goal late in the period.

Even after a furious comeback, the Caps could not escape the second with the score tied because of the penalties.

Just 43 seconds after Huberdeau’s goal, Washington went right back to 5-on-3. Evgeny Kuznetsov was tossed from a faceoff by the linesman and argued the call, eventually earning himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

“He said something he shouldn't have said to the referee,” Reirden said of the call.

The Caps' penalty problems were exacerbated by the continued problems of the penalty kill.

Heading into Friday's game, Washington was only killing off 72.2 percent of the power plays they faced. They allowed another two power play goals Friday as they continued to struggle when facing the extra man.

“We have room for improvement for sure,” Reirden said of his penalty kill. “It’s a new system, new with the way we’re killing, its new personnel. We’re learning. We’re missing a key guy in Tom on that as well. It’s not easy, either, when you’re 5-on-3 when they’ve got talented players that can convert in that spot. It’s definitely a work in progress and I didn't expect it to go smoothly to start with. That’s one of the areas that we knew was gonna be new to our team this year and it’s gonna continue to take some work. It’s something that definitely is a work in progress.”

Mistakes put the Caps down 4-1, they put them down 5-4, they cost them a valuable point against a previously winless Panthers team before a four-game road trip through Canada, and they are ultimately why the defending Stanley Cup champions are only 3-2-2 to start the season.

And they know it.

“We’re still trying to find our game,” Connolly said. “Would we have liked to have picked up where we left off? Yes. But it’s not easy. We played a lot of hockey last year and a short summer and you come in here and there’s a lot of distractions, a lot of that kind of stuff. We’ve done some good things and we’ve done some not so good things.

"I think if you look at last season we weren't very good either at the start. We weren't at our best. Just take the positives and know that we can overcome that. It hasn’t been disastrous. We’re still getting points, we’re still above .500 right now with a tough couple back-to-backs to start the year. So not the worst start, but obviously we have another level.”

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