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Tillman rocked as Twins blow away O's

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Tillman rocked as Twins blow away O's

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Denard Span had three hits and five RBIs, plus two highlight-reel catches in center field to help the Minnesota Twins stop their five-game losing streak and beat the Baltimore Orioles 19-7 on Monday night. Ben Revere made two remarkable running grabs himself in right field to go with four hits and three RBIs, Joe Mauer homered and drove in two runs and Justin Morneau had four of Minnesota's 20 hits. Chris Tillman (1-1) gave up seven runs in the first and didn't finish the inning, the shortest appearance by an Orioles starter this season. Six of the runs were unearned, due an untimely two-out error by first baseman Mark Reynolds. He hit a three-run homer off Scott Diamond (8-3), but the Twins starter won his third straight decision thanks to the big early lead. After such an unfamiliarly strong start, threatening to not only snap that ugly streak of 14 straight losing seasons but make the playoffs, the Orioles have slid back toward the .500 mark largely because of a crumbling rotation. Only Wei-Yin Chin is currently in action from the opening day quintet. In four of their last eight games, the starter has gone just four innings or fewer. The Orioles fell out of the lead in the crowded race for the second wild-card spot. Tillman turned in a stellar start for the Orioles on July 4, surrendering only two hits and two unearned runs over a career-high 8 13 innings at Seattle, but this time was just the opposite of that. Baseball games are rarely determined so early, but a pair of plays in the field in the first inning essentially decided this one. With two on and none out, Adam Jones drove what would've been a double or a triple hard down the right-field line, but Revere raced toward the corner and came up with a fully outstretched catch to freeze the runners. Then Wieters bounced into a double play, keeping the Orioles from scoring at all. In the bottom of the frame, Revere doubled and scored on Mauer's single. The Twins eventually loaded the bases, but Tillman had two outs and a full count on Ryan Doumit. On the eighth pitch of his at-bat, Doumit hit a chopper to first base that Reynolds awkwardly lunged toward with his backhand. The ball glanced off the edge of his glove, allowing two men to score and paving the way for Span's three-run double that capped the inning. The Orioles and Twins sure packed a lot into this matchup, including a balk, an infield fly rule call and even a two-run infield single. That came courtesy of Revere, whose grounder up the middle skipped off second base in front of shortstop J.J. Hardy, who couldn't grab it in time to throw Span out at home and keep the Twins from taking a 10-2 lead in the third. Span made a sprinting, sliding catch of a sinking liner to steal a single from Steve Tolleson in the sixth and sped back to nab J.J. Hardy's drive against the bullpen wall in the seventh. Revere also took an extra-base hit from Hardy with his second long run of the night, in the fifth. NOTES: Orioles DH Jim Thome returned to Target Field to face the Twins with a visiting team for the third time in less than a year, first with the Indians and then with the Phillies. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire playfully held hostage the ball Thome hit into the flower bed above right field for career homer 607 when he was here last month. Gardenhire joked he needed to see "something that helps one of our favorite charities" before giving it back. ... RH Samuel Deduno (0-0, 5.06 ERA) makes his second career start for the Twins on Tuesday. He was added to the rotation right before the All-Star break. LH Zach Britton will be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk by the Orioles and make his 2012 debut. He started the season on the DL with a left shoulder problem. ... The Orioles still haven't named a starter for Wednesday to fill RH Jason Hammel's spot. Hammel had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Monday. ... LH Dana Eveland cleared waivers and was outrighted to Norfolk by the Orioles. ... The Twins are averaging 5.9 runs per game when Diamond starts, nearly two more than the rest of the rotation. ... Morneau and Trevor Plouffe each stretched their season-long hitting streaks to 14 straight games for the Twins.

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10 changes that would make the NHL better

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USA TODAY Sports

10 changes that would make the NHL better

Hockey is one of the most incredible, compelling sports in the world. As fun as it is to watch on TV, it is even more compelling in person and fans in North America are treated to the best hockey in the world as played in the NHL.

But the NHL's not perfect.

SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

Just like every sports league, the NHL is always adjusting and making changes to the game in order to improve it through things like rule changes, expansion, playoff formats, etc.

No sport is perfect and hockey is not without its flaws, but there are a number of clear changes that could be made that would improve both the game and the league.

 SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Defense

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 23, three days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Training camp preview—defense 

Here are some of the big topics surrounding the defense at Redskins training camp along with some of the things I’ll be observing closely when training camp gets underway on Thursday. I looked at the topics on offense yesterday

Lining up the line

Will Phil Taylor, who seems to be a long shot to make the team after they drafted two nose tackles, get some run with the first and second teams? Also, this is a young group and Jim Tomsula will have a lot of opportunities to teach. Watching him interacting with his line and going over the details of line play is fun to watch.

Spaight vs. Vigil

The two starting inside linebacker starters are safe and the team is intrigued enough by the potential of both Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaun Dion Hamilton to make them likely bets to make the 53-man roster. That leaves Zach Vigil and Martrell Spaight competing for the last ILB roster spot. 

Spaight is a known quantity who has been a mainstay on special teams since he was drafted in the fifth round in 2015. They kept him over Vigil in the cut to 53 a year ago. But last year when injuries hit, Vigil started over Spaight. In a way, this is Round 3 between the two. 

Ryan Anderson

We know what outside linebacker starters Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith can do. Pernell McPhee will be good for four or five sacks and perhaps a forced fumble or two. Anderson, who was team’s second-round pick last year, is a big question mark. He played 193 snaps in 14 games, but he barely dented the stat sheet with no sacks and just 11 tackles. Anderson is a hard worker and they need his 

The pieces of the cornerback puzzle

This is discussed in some detail hereby JP Finlay and I’ll look at it later this week. To pick out one detail, I want to see what the rotation in the slot is. Right now the guess is that Orlando Scandrick is the starter but who will be behind him? That’s important because Scandrick has missed 25 games in the last three seasons due to injuries. 

Apke’s progress

Fourth-round safety Troy Apke displayed impressive makeup speed during offseason practices and that let him make some plays on the ball. But he needed that speed too often as he had issues in coverage. You need to be more than just fast to play in the NFL. If Apke is going to be an alternative if injury problems strike Montae Nicholson again he needs to start making some progress while he is in Richmond. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 3
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 17
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 40

The Redskins last played a game 204 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 48 days. 

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