From Comcast SportsNetTORONTO (AP) -- Joe Saunders began pondering perfection just one inning into his latest start.Saunders and three relievers combined on a three-hitter and the charging Baltimore Orioles blanked Toronto 4-0 Monday, cutting their AL East deficit to one game."(Saunders) was the difference today," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.The Orioles, who took two of three at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, moved even closer to New York. The Yankees lost 4-3 at Tampa Bay.J.J. Hardy drove in two runs as the Orioles won for the eighth time in 10 games. The one-game gap marks the closest anyone has been to the Yankees since mid-June.Acquired recently from Arizona, Saunders (1-1) retired the first 17 Blue Jays batters before hanging a changeup to nine-hole hitter Adeiny Hechavarria, who lined a two-out single to center in the sixth.Saunders acknowledged he'd long been dreaming of the possibility of a perfect game or no-hitter."You think about it," he said, smiling. "I thought about it after the first. I was like Ooh, nice. I didn't give up a hit in the first.'"Baltimore, which had lost four in a row at Toronto, collected its eighth shutout of the season. The Orioles have won 20 of 28 overall.Saunders bounced back nicely from his Baltimore debut, when he allowed six runs in 5 1-3 innings in a loss to the White Sox."When I got traded over here they had a great thing going," Saunders said. "You just want to come over here and contribute as much as you can. You don't want to mess it up and get blown up a lot."After Hechavarria's hit, Rajai Davis followed with a walk, but Saunders struck out Colby Rasmus to end the inning. Saunders allowed three hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out two."Today he settled in a little bit more," catcher Matt Wieters said. "He was definitely in control the whole game and was able to mix in different off-speed pitches."Luis Ayala replaced Saunders after the Blue Jays loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. Ayala escaped by fanning rookie Moises Sierra and getting Jeff Mathis to fly out.Pedro Strop worked the eighth and Jim Johnson finished for Baltimore, who were playing their third straight day game and riding an emotional wave after their big weekend series in the Bronx."I'm as proud of them today as I have been all year," Showalter said of his team. "That's a challenge."Adam Jones had two hits and Nick Markakis reached three times for the Orioles.The Orioles opened the scoring in the second when Manny Machado led off with a fly down the line in right. Fighting the sun and making a long run to the ball, Sierra couldn't come up with the sliding catch and was charged with a three-base error."Obviously Moises had a difficult time with the sun in right," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.Machado scored when Nate McLouth followed with a sacrifice bunt.Baltimore tacked on two more in the fifth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Markakis and Hardy. Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ avoided further damage by striking out Wieters, Mark Reynolds and Machado to strand runners at second and third."They were able to manufacture a couple of runs but he made a number of key pitches to prevent a big inning," Farrell said.Hardy added an RBI single in the eighth.Happ (3-2) allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits in five-plus innings. He walked two and struck out nine.Brad Lincoln came on after McLouth doubled off the wall to begin the sixth. A walk, a sacrifice and an intentional walk loaded the bases for Hardy, but he grounded into an inning-ending double play.The Blue Jays, who were blanked for the seventh time this season, have lost three straight and 11 of 15.NOTES:Toronto recalled LHP Brett Cecil and activated RHP Jason Frasor (forearm) off the 15-day DL. ... The Orioles selected LHP Zach Phillips from Triple-A Norfolk and designated RHP Jason Berken for assignment. Baltimore also recalled RHP Tommy Hunter from Double-A Bowie. ... Blue Jays C J.P. Arencibia (right hand) has begun a rehab assignment at Class-A Dunedin and could rejoin the team by the end of the week, manager John Farrell said. ... The Orioles will recall RHP Zach Britton before Tuesday's game, allowing him to start against Toronto.
Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 18, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
Redskins 53-man roster projection—offense
It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on offense; defense up tomorrow.
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy
I think that Kevin Hogan is very much on the bubble as the third quarterback. They got along with two QBs last year and with Alex Smith having demonstrated great durability during his career Hogan may well get bumped off.
Running backs (4)
Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley
I’d say that this is 95 percent locked in. Maybe Kapri Bibbs or Byron Marshall can make a push for Kelley’s roster spot but his history with Jay Gruden will make it very hard for him to get knocked out.
Wide receivers (6)
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn
The first time I did this back in April I didn’t have Quinn on the roster. That was before he was a man among boys a rookie camp and a player who looks like he belongs when the veterans showed up. I don’t know if he’ll have the impact that many fans think he will, but he’s certainly going to get his chance. Brian Quick could steal a roster spot from Harris or Davis.
Tight ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle
The Redskins did not draft a tight end or sign one in free agency so there seems to be faith that Reed will be healthy. We’ve heard that before and it seems somewhat risky to leave Davis, who has Father Time nipping at his heels, and the inexperienced Davis as the only two backups. They may try to make room for an undrafted rookie like Hudson Garrett.
Offensive line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tyler Catalina, Tony Bergstrom
I think that Gruden is probably happy with the starters here but the depth is shaky, especially in the interior. The key could be whether Christian is ready for prime time as the swing tackle. That could allow Nsekhe to fill in at guard. Bergstrom is fine as the backup center although I wouldn’t want to have to count on him for more than a few games.
Offensive players: 24
Rookies (3): Guice, Christian, Quinn
New to the organization in 2018 (5): Rookies plus Smith, Richardson
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (11): Rookies plus new plus Harris (practice squad), R. Davis (practice squad) and Bergstrom (not on the team).
Tandler on Twitter
An Indiana state police officer tweeted that he pulled a driver over for going too slowly in the left lane. I believe this person is a national hero.
This officer needs an award of some sort, maybe a Nobel Prize. https://t.co/UGLXnCzIIb— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) June 17, 2018
—Training camp starts (7/26) 38
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 52
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 75
The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 83 days.
In case you missed it
- The Redskins' best players who are 25 or younger
- Trent Williams very much of approves of Smith and Guice
- Redskins week that was—Biggest offseason moves, next men up
Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it.
Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage.
Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets.
"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).
Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating.
"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.
The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games.
"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."
One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches.
The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th.
Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions
- Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap
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