Say good morning to baseball's new home run leader

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Say good morning to baseball's new home run leader

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 29, 2011
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Even without Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in the lineup, the New York Yankees still pack a wallop. Curtis Granderson hit two of New York's five home runs, rookie Ivan Nova won his 10th straight decision, and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-3 Sunday night for a split of a day-night doubleheader. Granderson hit a three-run drive in the third inning and a solo shot in the seventh to take over the major league lead in homers (38) and RBIs (107). "It's incredible what he's done this year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "There's a lot of talk about MVP, and that will all be settled later. He's been unbelievable for us." In the first game, rookie Zach Britton allowed four hits over seven innings to lead the Orioles to a 2-0 victory. It was Jeter's 2,402nd game with New York, breaking a tie with Mickey Mantle for most in a Yankees uniform. But Jeter fouled a ball off his right knee in the third inning, and although he shook off the pain to finish the game, the Yankees captain was a late scratch in the nightcap with a bruised knee. "We iced it between games and afterward, and it swelled up and became a challenge," Jeter said after the second game. X-rays were negative, but Girardi expressed doubt about Jeter's availability Monday night for the finale of the four-game series. Rodriguez also watched Game 2 from the dugout with a sore left thumb. "We just felt it wasn't in our best interest in playing him, either," Girardi said. The second game was tied at 3 before New York hit three straight homers in a four-run sixth. After Robinson Cano connected with a man on, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones also went deep. It was the first time the Yankees hit three successive homers since May 20, 2009, against Baltimore. Despite the power surge, Girardi hates the idea of being without Jeter and Rodriguez. "We need to get them healthy," he said. "It is somewhat of a concern." Nova (14-4) gave up three runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings, striking out seven and walking two. The right-hander has won seven straight starts and is 10-0 in 11 outings since June 3. Brian Matusz (1-7) allowed six runs and six hits -- including three home runs -- in 5 1-3 innings. Adam Jones had two RBIs for the Orioles, whose six-game winning streak ended. Baltimore led 2-0 before Granderson hit his first homer. He has 11 career two-homer games, including four this season. Granderson still doesn't consider himself to be a slugger. "It's one of those freak things," he said. "I was thinking about the home run guys, those that can do it, they hit mammoth shots. Mine, as long as they get over the fence, that's great." In the first game, Britton allowed four singles, struck out five and walked one before being pulled after throwing a career-high 120 pitches. It was a vivid contrast from his previous start against the Yankees, when he yielded nine runs and got only one out in a 17-3 loss July 30. "I wasn't thinking about getting revenge or anything," Britton said. "You have to have a short memory." Britton (8-9) has given up only one run over 12 innings since coming off the disabled list (strained left shoulder) on Aug. 22. Before going on the DL, he surrendered 23 runs in three starts. "Not only was it like a break for me physically, but mentally, too," Britton said of his time off. The game was scoreless until the seventh, when Nick Markakis doubled and Vladimir Guerrero singled. Baltimore added a run in the eighth when Mark Reynolds led off with his third hit and scored on a two-out single by J.J. Hardy. Jim Johnson pitched a perfect eighth and Kevin Gregg worked the ninth for his 19th save, getting Rodriguez to hit into a double play after giving up a one-out single to Mark Teixeira, who had three hits. Cano went 0 for 3, ending his 17-game hitting streak. He had also hit in 18 consecutive games at Camden Yards. The Yankees failed to get a runner past first base in their first shutout loss since June 13. Bartolo Colon (8-9) gave up two runs and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings. He had a two-hitter through six innings before faltering. He has lost his last three starts and is 2-6 in his last eight decisions. But he considered this effort to be a breakthrough. "I feel very happy. Thank God that everything is back together," he said through a translator. "We'll see how far we're going to go." NOTES: The nightcap was rescheduled from Saturday's doubleheader rainout. The other game will be made up on Sept. 8 at 1:05 p.m. ... Britton's 120 pitches were most by an Oriole this season. ... New York intends to activate RHP Freddy Garcia (cut index finger) from the DL to start in Monday's series finale. Alfredo Simon (4-6) will pitch for the Orioles.

Celtics force overtime, come up short in 127-123 loss to Blazers

Celtics force overtime, come up short in 127-123 loss to Blazers

BOSTON – For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics ran into a team that played with a greater sense of desperation.

And the result was yet another defeat as the Portland Trail Blazers, playing their second game in less than 24 hours, were able to get off their losing skid with a 127-123 overtime win over the Celtics.

Boston (26-17) has now lost back-to-back games at home, while the Blazers (19-27) snapped a four-game losing streak.

In the extra session, Portland jumped out to a 117-113 lead only for Boston’s Al Horford scoring on a bank-shot in the paint and Thomas draining a go-ahead 3-pointer for Boston.

Portland regained the lead when Al-Farouq Aminu made a pair of free throws with 59.3 seconds to play to make it a 119-118 game.

Boston soon fell behind 122-118, but a pair of Thomas free throws with 44.8 seconds to play made it a two-point game.

Mason Plumlee scored with 24 seconds to play in overtime, and an Al Horford miss – rebounded by Plumlee who was then fouled by Horford – essentially put the game away with 13.5 seconds to play.

Boston found themselves down late in the fourth quarter and seemingly headed towards defeat, only to get an unexpected lift in the final seconds from Terry Rozier.

Trailing by three points late in the fourth, Boston had one last chance to force overtime so who did they turn to?

If you were thinking Thomas which is what the Blazers and most fans were thinking, you would have been dead wrong.

The fourth quarter may be Thomas’ time to shine, but at that point in the game it was Rozier’s moment as he drained a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds left that ultimately forced overtime. He finished with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists off the bench.

The Blazers came into the game with the kind of potent scoring punch in the backcourt that strikes the fear into the heart of any defense, let alone one that has been as up and down as the Boston Celtics this season.

For most of the game, Portland’s 1-2 punch of Damian Lillard (28 points) and C.J. McCollum (35 points) lived up to the lofty billing as they combined for 63 points.

McCollum and Lillard both did their share of damage down the stretch, but it was their bench – specifically Meyers Leonard – whose play kept Portland in the game early on.

He finished with 17 points off the bench.

Boston led 65-56 at the half, but soon found itself in a 67-all game after McCollum made the second of two free throws.

But Boston countered with a put-back basket by Kelly Olynyk and a 3-pointer from Isaiah Thomas to push Boston’s lead to 72-67.

Once again the Blazers fought back and eventually took the lead 74-72 on a powerful put-back dunk by Haverill (Mass.) native Noah Vonleh.

Brad Stevens had seen enough of his team getting pushed around, as he called a time-out with 5:31 to play in the quarter.

It didn’t help as Portland continued to bully their way around the rim for second and third-shot opportunities with their lead peaking at 78-72 following a put-back basket by  Plumlee.

But the Celtics responded with a 7-2 spurt capped off by an end-to-end, driving lay-up by Rozier that cut Portland’s lead to 80-79 with 2:44 to play in the quarter. Boston continued to be within striking distance as the third quarter ended with the Celtics trailing 88-86.