Padres nearly had their first ever no-hitter

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Padres nearly had their first ever no-hitter

From Comcast SportsNet
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Edinson Volquez has only his glove to blame for falling just short of the first no-hitter in San Diego Padres history. Volquez threw a one-hitter -- an infield single in the fourth inning that bounced off his glove -- for the first complete game and shutout of his career as the Padres beat the Houston Astros 1-0 on Thursday night. Alexi Amarista doubled and Logan Forsythe singled in the first inning for the Padres, who won three of the four games in the series and have won five of six overall. "I had a few in the minor leagues, but right now that doesn't count," Volquez said of complete games. "To do it in the major leagues, complete game, one-hit shutout, that was good." Volquez shut down the Astros except for the infield single by Matt Downs, who hit a comebacker to the left side of the mound. Third baseman Chase Headley and Volquez converged on the ball but Volquez opted to attempt to snare the ball but dropped it. Volquez did not attempt to throw out Downs at first base. "I've got to work on my backhand," Volquez said. "I was supposed to catch that ball. I've got fielding practice tomorrow, I've got to work on that. He hit it in the right spot." Downs was just glad to avoid history. "You look back and you're glad he didn't no-hit you," Downs said. In becoming the first Padres pitcher to throw a one-hitter at Petco Park, Volquez struck out five and walked three, throwing 118 pitches, 76 for strikes. It was the Padres' second complete game of the season and sixth shutout. "He's been pretty good lately," Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal said. "Sometimes the walks kill him, but that was one thing he didn't do tonight was walk too many guys. It seemed like every time he fell behind he came back, so that's something he needs to keep doing. He's a really good pitcher when he allows himself to be." Volquez is the third Padrer to throw a shutout at Petco Park. Jake Peavy did so on Aug. 23, 2005 also against Houston, and Ismael Valdez did on June 5, 2004, against Milwaukee. "A couple of hiccups with maybe a couple of walks, but his stuff was good," Padres manager Bud Black said. "They didn't hit many balls hard. He was in command of the game. Those are tough games, because when the score is 1-0, every pitch is critical." The win improved Volquez's career record against the Astros to 6-0. "I think we had four or five well-hit balls, right on the button -- and that happens," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "At the same time, you would like to get something started against him." Rookie Lucas Harrell (7-7), who threw a shutout against San Diego on June 27 in Houston, gave up four hits and struck out six while walking one in seven innings. "With our offense, I feel like we can score enough runs if I can keep it close," Harrell said. Amarista, playing in center field for the injured Cameron Maybin, has hit safely in 16 of 17 games, batting .387 over that stretch. Forsythe nearly started a triple play in the second inning. Scott Maxwell hit a line drive that the second baseman leaped to catch. He threw to Everth Cabrera to double up J.D. Martinez at second and Cabrera threw to first but Downs dived to beat the ball to the base and prevent the triple play. Houston is batting .197 over the past 15 games and the club has had five hits or fewer 10 times in its last 18 games. The Astros were the victim when Matt Cain threw a perfect game on July 13 in San Francisco. "It's going to turn here, and it's going to turn here quick," Mills said. "We're looking forward to it turning tomorrow night in Arizona." This game marked the last non-interleague meeting between the Astros and Padres as Houston will move to the American League West in 2013. NOTES: Mills said C Jason Castro, who is on the DL, had "really good range of motion" after his swollen knee was drained Wednesday. ... Maybin was out of the lineup for the second straight game because of a sore wrist. Black said he doubts Maybin will be a candidate for the DL ... Bud Norris will pitch for Houston when they open a three-game series in Arizona on Friday against Trevor Cahill (7-8, 3.71). San Diego's Jason Marquis (2-5, 3.62) will pitch in the opener of a three-game series against Colorado's Drew Pomeranz (1-4, 3.79).

Celtics make progress, but was it a successful season?

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Celtics make progress, but was it a successful season?

BOSTON – Success comes in many shapes and sizes, and is not always seen the same by NBA players – not even teammates.

That was certainly the case following Boston’s 104-92 Game 6 loss to the Atlanta Hawks which ended the Celtics season.

While Boston won more regular season games (48) than they did a year ago and put up a much better fight than last season's four-game sweep at the hands of Cleveland, having the season end the way it did at home on Thursday clearly left a bitter taste in the mouths of most players.

Whether this was a successful season is open to debate.

But what’s abundantly clear for the Celtics is this team did indeed make progress from where they were a year ago when they were swept out of the playoffs by Cleveland in the first round.

“You go from 40 (wins) – under .500 and barely making the playoffs and kind of eeking  in at the end by winning six straight to being in the mix for being a top-four seed in the East,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “And so yes, there’s progress.”

But as far as this being a successful season, that’s not nearly as cut and dry.

“Of course it’s only going to be one team to have a successful year and that’s’ when you hold that trophy up,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “So, until we do that, it’s not a successful season. We are going to keep building, keep working.”

Celtics guard Marcus Smart had a slightly different opinion on the matter.

“I don’t look at it as a failure, for sure,” Smart said. “We did a lot of great things this season. We’re a young team. That’s good for us coming back. We have a lot of work to do obviously, but I don’t look at the season as a failure. So I guess you can say it was a success for us.”

But looking at how this season ended, while disappointing, serves as a reminder as to how Boston remains a team with talent but plenty of room to grow.

“People have told me all along there’s two really tough tasks, right?” Stevens said. “One is getting to be a very good, competitive team at a top 10-15 level on offense and defense and give yourself a chance to be in the discussion we’re in right now. And that’s been a path in the last three years to get there. And the next one is tough. And that’s been communicated before to me and we’re learning a lot. We learned a lot through this playoff series, but one of the things that I’ve learned is we’ve got to get better. And you know what? That starts with me. I’ve got to get better, and then I think each of our players will look at that accountably as well and we’re all going to be better the next time we take the court.”

And in doing so, look to build off the progress made this season and inch closer towards having a successful season which around here more often than not, means competing for an NBA title.

That’s why for Jared Sullinger, one of the few remaining players from the Big Three era of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen when deep postseason runs were an expectation and not a goal, he doesn’t see this season as being a successful one for the Green team.

“If we’re thinking making it to the playoffs is a successful season, then we’re going in the wrong direction,” Sullinger said. “If you look in this locker room, you see everybody’s down. We didn’t want it to end like that; we wanted to make a run. It’s tough losing like that.”

Sullinger added, “last year we were glad to make the playoffs. This year, we wanted to make a run, we wanted to make some noise. Unfortunately, our noise got cut short.”

C you next season?: Future is unclear for several Celtics

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C you next season?: Future is unclear for several Celtics

BOSTON – There are few guarantees when it comes to the NBA and the Boston Celtics, but one thing’s for certain: change is going to come next season.

This is especially true for the Celtics whose season ended with a 104-92 Game 6 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, sending the C’s home for the season with a second straight first round exit.

“That’s just the business of the NBA,” said Isaiah Thomas who had a double-double of 25 points and 10 assists which were both game highs on Thursday. “One thing I do know, I ride with these guys until the wheels fall off; I mean this was a special group.”

But whether they stay together remains to be seen.

Among those who could be on the move is Evan Turner, an unrestricted free agent this summer.

He will be among the more heavily pursued Celtics this summer, in large part because of his versatility as both a playmaker and scoring guard off the bench.

Several teams will come hard after Turner, among them being the New York Knicks and the Orlando Magic who are desperate to add talented, proven veterans to their young rosters.

The second year of Jonas Jerebko’s contract becomes fully guaranteed if he’s still on the roster after July 3. Considering the way he played in the postseason as well as his steady presence during the regular season, the Celtics are more than likely to keep him around for next season.

Boston has a pair of restricted free agents in Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger. It is unclear what the Celtics will do with them because it remains to be seen what type of offers (if any) they receive from another team.

“This season didn’t go exactly how I would have wanted it to,” Zeller told CSNNE.com. “But I like it here, I like the coaching staff and the players. So we’ll see what happens this summer. But yeah, I’m definitely open to the idea of coming back next season.”

There’s a certain amount of uncertainty surrounding Amir Johnson who could potentially become a free agent this summer if the Celtics decline to pick up the second year on his contract which is worth $12 million.

When I asked Johnson if he felt he had done enough to have to his second year picked up by the Celtics he told CSNNE.com, “I hope so.”

Johnson added, “We never quit even when we were down big at the end of the game. I feel there’s stuff we can clean up and be better, from the coaching staff to the players to the front office. But there’s something about this team, we don’t have no quit in us. I feel like we can definitely go far if we just put the right pieces together.”

And as far as his future in Boston, “I definitely want to here.”

Only time will tell just how many of Boston’s potential free agents will be riding with the Green Team next season, or be swept away and wind up on another roster in what will surely be an offseason of change.