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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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Yuta Watanabe is chasing NBA dream, hoping to lead the way for Japanese basketball players

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USA TODAY Sports

Yuta Watanabe is chasing NBA dream, hoping to lead the way for Japanese basketball players

Before meeting with local basketball media following his pre-draft workout with the Washington Wizards on Thursday at Capital One Arena, George Washington forward Yuta Watanabe first addressed a swath of reporters from his home country of Japan. Then, while he talked to the American contingent, cameras from Japanese news outlets trailed him from a distance, documenting even the media part of his experience.

Watanabe, who played four years for the Colonials in Foggy Bottom, is now chasing an NBA dream with an entire country's hope on his shoulders. He is aiming to become just the second Japanese-born player to reach basketball's pinnacle.

It's a responsibility he carries with pride.

"I know there was only one Japanese player who played in the NBA like a long time ago, so he was the only one," Watanabe said. "If I can make it, I know that’s a really big thing in Japan. That would make young guys come to the U.S. and play basketball in the U.S. I want to be one of the pioneers for younger guys."

The only player to make the NBA from Japan in the history of the league was Yuta Tabuse, who appeared in four games for the Phoenix Suns in the 2004-05 season. Four games, that's it. If Watanabe can carve out an extended career in the NBA, it would be a first for Japan, which like many countries outside of the United States has begun to produce more basketball talent in recent decades as the game has expanded globally.

Watanabe grew up in Miki, Kagawa, a town in the southwest of Japan. He had American basketball idols growing up, including Kobe Bryant who was the NBA's biggest star when Watanabe was a kid.

Now, as Watanabe has set his sights on the NBA, he has focused on others to model his game after. He said he watches film of Jazz forward Joe Ingles because he sees similarities in their game.

"I see myself trying to be like him. He’s a lefty, a great shooter and a great defender. I’ve been watching his tape a lot," Watanabe said.

Watanabe has also been consulting with Hawks forward Joe Cavanaugh, his former teammate at George Washington. Cavanaugh went undrafted last summer, but caught on in Atlanta and appeared in 39 games as a rookie.

Watanabe's best bet may be a similar path. He is currently not projected to be drafted, but there are many avenues to the NBA, as Cavanaugh has shown. He was signed for 2017 training camp by the Hawks, then cut. Then, he inked a two-way contract which was later converted to a regular contract.

Along the way, Cavanaugh spent much of his time with the Erie Bayhawks of the G-League. Watanabe may have to go that route to make the NBA. For now, he's trying to prove what he's capable of and that has not been easy. The Wizards were his second workout and Watanabe isn't happy with his performance thus far.

He is dealing with an ankle injury that has affected his conditioning, he said, and his shots haven't been falling.

"To be honest, I didn’t shoot well. I didn’t really do well in the 1-on-1s or 3-on-3. I know I have to do better on that if I want to make an NBA team," he said.

Watanabe, who stands at 6-foot-9, said he also needs to get stronger. If defense is going to be his calling card, he can't be pushed around by bigger players in the NBA.

"I know I can defend one through four. Today, I didn’t shoot well but I know I can shoot and I can handle the ball, I can pass. I think versatility is one of my strengths," he said.

The Wizards could use depth at the small forward position and will be in the market for a host of undrafted guys to fill out their summer league team and new G-League team. Perhaps Watanabe will land in one of those spots.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: The ultimate Capitals-Golden Knights preview

Stanley Cup Final 2018: The ultimate Capitals-Golden Knights preview

It is perhaps the most surprising Stanley Cup Final matchup in league history.

Just when you thought the championship window was closed, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals finally exorcised their playoff demons to win the Eastern Conference and advance to the final. They will be playing the Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion team in its very first year in existence that did not even have a roster just one year ago.

Who could have seen this one coming back in September?

The Golden Knights continue to shock the hockey community with every series win. They swept the Los Angeles Kings, dispatched San Jose in six and needed only five games to eliminate the Winnipeg Jets, a team with the second-best record in the regular season who had just eliminated the first place Nashville Predators.

In their very first postseason, Vegas has carried the momentum of a spectacular regular season into a 12-3 record up to the Stanley Cup Final.

But while they may have momentum, the Caps have an air of destiny about them. Not only did they rally from a 2-0 series deficit to win four straight against the Columbus Blue Jackets, they also defeated their archnemesis and the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Against a heavily favored Tampa Bay Lightning squad, the Caps won three out of four road games including an emphatic 4-0 Game 7 win, thus erasing another playoff stigma for the franchise.

These two teams share some common history despite Vegas being in its inaugural season. Though general manager Brian MacLellan has certainly put his own touches on the Caps' roster and molded them into a champion, the core of Washington was still built by George McPhee. Now the Caps will take on a roster completely built from the ground up by McPhee as the general manager of the Golden Knights.

Will Vegas complete its Cinderella season or will the Caps hoist their first ever Cup at the expense of their former GM?

Stanley Cup Final: Washington Capitals vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Schedule

Game 1: Capitals at Golden Knights. Monday, 5/28 at 8:00 p.m. ET. (Broadcast on NBC)
Game 2: Capitals at Golden Knights. Wednesday, 5/30 at 8:00 p.m. ET. (Broadcast on NBCSN)
Game 3: Golden Knights at Capitals. Saturday, 6/2 at 8:00 p.m. ET. (Broadcast on NBCSN)
Game 4: Golden Knights at Capitals. Monday, 6/4 at 8:00 p.m. ET. (Broadcast on NBC)
Game 5 (if necessary): Capitals at Golden Knights. Thursday, 6/7 at 8:00 p.m. ET. (Broadcast on NBC)
Game 6 (if necessary): Golden Knights at Capitals. Sunday, 6/10 (Broadcast on NBC)
Game 7 (If Necessary): Capitals at Golden Knights. Wednesday, 6/13 (Broadcast on NBC)

View full detailed schedule here.

2017-18 Team stats

Washington Capitals

  • 49-26-7, 105 points, first in the Metropolitan Division
  • 3.12 goals per game (9th)
  • 2.90 goals against per game (16th)
  • 22.5-percent power play percentage (7th)
  • 80.3 penalty kill percentage (15th)
     

Vegas Golden Knights

  • 51-24-7, 109 points, first in the Pacific Division
  • 3.27 goals per game (5th)
  • 2.74 goals against per game (8th)
  • 21.4 power play percentage (9th)
  • 81.4 penalty kill percentage (11th)

Top Performers

Washington

Goals

Regular season
  1. Alex Ovechkin – 49
  2. Evgeny Kuznetsov – 27
  3. Nicklas Backstrom – 21
Playoffs
  1. Alex Ovechkin - 12
  2. Evgeny Kuznetsov - 11
  3. T.J. Oshie - 7

Assists

Regular season
  1. Evgeny Kuznetsov – 56
  2. John Carlson – 53
  3. Nicklas Backstrom – 50
Playoffs
  1. John Carlson - 13
  2. Evgeny Kuznetsov -13
  3. Nicklas Backstrom - 12

Points

Regular season
  1. Alex Ovechkin – 87
  2. Evgeny Kuznetsov – 83
  3. Nicklas Backstrom – 71
Playoffs
  1. Evgeny Kuznetsov - 24
  2. Alex Ovechkin - 22
  3. John Carlson - 16
  4. Nicklas Backstrom - 16

Vegas

Goals

Regular season
  1. William Karlsson - 43
  2. Erik Haula - 29
  3. Jonathan Marchessault - 27
Playoffs
  1. Jonathan Marchessault - 8
  2. Alex Tuch - 6
  3. William Karlsson - 6

Assists

Regular season
  1. David Perron - 50
  2. Jonathan Marchessault - 48
  3. Reilly Smith - 38
Playoffs
  1. Reilly Smith - 14
  2. Jonathan Marchessault - 10
  3. David Perron - 7
  4. William Karlsson - 7

Points

Regular season
  1. William Karlsson - 78
  2. Jonathan Marchessault - 75
  3. David Perron - 66
Playoffs
  1. Jonathan Marchessault - 18
  2. Reilly Smith - 16
  3. William Karlsson - 13

Goaltending

Washington

Regular season

Braden Holtby: 54 GP, 34-16-4 record, .907 save percentage, 2.99 GAA, 0 shutouts
Philipp Grubauer: 35 GP, 15-10-3 record, .923 save percentage, 2.35 GAA, 3 shutouts

Playoffs

Braden Holtby: 18 GP, 12-6 record, .923 save percentage, 2.04 GAA, 2 shutouts
Philipp Grubauer: 2 GP, 0-1 record, .837 save percentage, 4.55 GAA, 0 shutouts

Vegas

Regular season

March-Andre Fleury: 46 GP, 29-13-4 record, .927 save percentage, 2.24 GAA, 4 shutouts
Malcolm Subban: 22 GP, 13-4-2 record, .910 save percentage, 2.68 GAA, 0 shutouts
Maxime Legace: 16 GP, 6-7-1 record, .867 save percentage, 3.92 GAA, 0 shutouts
Oscar Dansk: 4 GP, 3-0-0 record, .946 save percentage, 1.78 GAA, 1 shutout
Dylan Ferguson: 1 GP, 0-0-0 record, .500 save percentage, 6.50 GAA, 0 shutouts

Playoffs

Marc-Andre Fleury: 15 GP, 12-3 record, .947 save percentage, 1.68 GAA, 4 shutouts

Head-to-head record

Capitals finished with a 0-2-0 record against Vegas

Dec. 23: 3-0 Vegas win

The Caps' first trip to Vegas was a rough one. Washington was taken complete surprise by the speed and forecheck of the Golden Knights who built a 3-0 lead in the first period and ride that all the way to the finish line.

Feb. 4: 4-3 Vegas win

This game was part of a season-defining stretch for the Caps. Just 10 days prior, Washington was blown out by the Nashville Predators and again by the Colorado Avalanche two days after that. The Caps would rebound by winning eight of their next 10 games. A back-to-back against the Lightning, who had the best record in the NHL at the time, and the Toronto Maple Leafs looked like a daunting stretch. Philipp Grubauer got the start and was brilliant for Washington and Jay Beagle led the offense with a goal and an assist.

X-Factors

Coming on Friday!

Players to watch

Coming on Saturday!

Keys to the series

Coming on Sunday!

Expert picks

Joe Beninati, NBC Sports Washingon Capitals play-by-play announcer: Capitals in 6
Ryan Billie, NBC Sports Washingon Capitals senior TV producer: Capitals in 7
Tarik El-Bashir, NBC Sports Washingon Capitals Insider: Capitals in 7
Rob Carlin, NBC Sports Washington on-air host of Capitals GameTime and Capitals Extra: Capitals in 6
Courtney Laughlin, Caps FaceOff and Caps Overtime panelist: Capitals in 6
Craig Laughlin, NBC Sports Washingon Capitals color commentator: Capitals in 6
Alan May, NBC Sports Washingon Capitals analyst: Capitals in 6
Grant Paulsen, host of Caps FaceOff and Caps Overtime: Golden Knights in 6
JJ Regan, NBC Sports Washingon Capitals Digital Producer: Capitals in 6

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