Which Yankees star hit his 200th career HR?

784044.jpg

Which Yankees star hit his 200th career HR?

From Comcast SportsNetCLEVELAND (AP) -- Rafael Soriano and the New York Yankees dodged their way to an important win.Curtis Granderson hit his 200th career homer and Soriano shook off getting hit on the side of his right hand by a line drive as the Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 4-2 Sunday."It feels fine right now," Soriano said after getting struck in the ninth inning by a shot by Jason Kipnis that was headed right at his head. "It hit my glove or my hand, I'm not sure which one first."Soriano recovered to get the ball and make the out, then the right-hander the next batter, Asdrubal Cabrera, on a soft liner for his 33rd save in 35 chances since replacing the injured Mariano Rivera as closer.The Yankees have battled injuries all year and after being swept in three games in Chicago, felt the Tampa Bay Rays closing in on their AL East lead."We're really fortunate," manager Joe Girardi said.New York took two of three from the Indians to open a four-game lead on the idle Rays."These are important games down the stretch," Girardi said. "We need wins and to win series. That's the way to do it, win series."The Indians, meanwhile, keep losing. Kipnis had three hits and three stolen bases for Cleveland, which has lost nine of 10 and is 5-23 since July 26."We pitched OK, which made for a decent ballgame," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That makes it easier to take than when you're trailing by a ton of runs and it sucks the energy out of everybody."They did trail quickly, however, when New York took a 3-0 lead in the second off Ubaldo Jimenez (9-13). Granderson's 33rd homer in the sixth made it 4-2 and gave the Yankees a record eight current players with 200 or more career homers."It's cool to accomplish that," said Granderson, who had champagne in a bucket of ice awaiting him at his locker, where his nameplate was changed to read "200"."When you see the list of names, all the guys together on this club, it speaks to what the organization is doing."Boone Logan (5-2) pitched 1 2-3 innings for the win as Girardi turned to his bullpen early."They were well rested," Girardi said of Soriano, Logan and David Robertson, who worked 1 1-3 scoreless innings.Nick Swisher had three hits as New York improved to 26-15 in series finales, including 10-5 in the deciding game of three-game sets.Swisher and Ichiro Suzuki had RBI singles in the Yankees' second and Derek Jeter also drove in a run with a groundout.Jeter went 0 for 5, but still leads the majors with 173 hits.A large group of Yankees fans chanted "Der-ek Je-ter" each time New York's captain came to the plate. Indians fans responded with a resounding boo -- and each side turned up the volume throughout each at-bat.Cleveland's fans cheered the loudest when Jeter bounced into double play to end the ninth against Esmil Rogers.Garcia worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, getting Carlos Santana to pop a 3-2 pitch to right. Garcia thought he had Santana struck out on the previous pitch, stomping around the mound after plate umpire Gary Cederstrom called ball three.The right-hander wasn't as fortunate in the fifth after getting two quick outs. Kipnis singled, Garcia hit Cabrera with a pitch and then walked Shin-Soo Choo. This time, Santana grounded a two-run single up the middle to make it 3-2.Logan came on and retired Michael Brantley on a groundout with runners on first and third.Later, Robertson stared in at Cederstrom and Girardi quickly met Cederstrom at the plate for a chat."I went out as peacemaker," Girardi said.Granderson homered off reliever Tony Sipp. It was the 195th homer this year by the Yankees, who have gone deep in 40 of their last 45 games.Garcia struck out six over 4 2-3 innings. He failed to go the necessary five innings for a starter to get the win and remained 5-1 in daytime starts this year.Jimenez fanned four over five innings, yielding eight hits and three runs. The right-hander dropped to 1-6 with a 7.96 in nine starts since July 14.NOTES:Ohio native John Glenn, the former U.S. senator and astronaut celebrating 50 years since his historic space flight, tossed out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Girardi expects updates on 3B Alex Rodriguez, out since July 25 with a broken left hand, and LHP Andy Pettitte, sidelined since June 28 by a broken left ankle when the team returns home. Rodriguez could take regular batting practice before the Yankees play Toronto in New York on Monday. ... Granderson joined Rodriguez, Jeter, Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones in the 200-homer club. ... Cleveland went 1-5 against the Yankees this season.

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

falcons_devonta_freeman_092616.jpg

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.

Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

bruins_blue_jackets_jimmy_hayes_092616.jpg

Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

BOSTON, Mass. – There’s a long way to go toward a complete resurrection from last season’s misdeeds, but Jimmy Hayes made a nice little statement that he’s learned some lessons in Boston’s preseason debut. The Bruins lost the game, 3-2, in the shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Hayes scored one of the two goals for the Black and Gold as one of the few veterans in a very youthful lineup for Boston.

The Hayes goal was a nice give-and-go with Jake DeBrusk at the end of a nice transition play in the second period, and was the highlight of a night playing on the right wing with DeBrusk and center Austin Czarnik. The score and a team-high four shots on net for Hayes represent a good start for what he hopes is a gigantic rebound season after last year’s disappointment.

Clearly Hayes heard some of the unflattering chatter about him on sports talk radio and otherwise last season, and may even understand how his difficult season in his home city of Boston -- whether he actively expressed it to him or not -- might have been a factor in his buddy Jimmy Vesey ultimately choosing New York over Boston.

It appears the former Boston College standout is looking to change the conversation in Boston. 

“Yeah, sure am. I’ve got a lot to come out here and…[there were] a lot of comments about myself, but I know I’m a good player. I got to this level for a reason,” said Hayes, who dropped from 19 goals and 35 points with the Panthers to 13 goals, 29 points and a career-worst minus-12 for the Bruins last season.

“To be able to play at the NHL level and continue to play at that level on a consistent basis is what I expect out of myself. I do it for myself and our teammates, and to help our team win. I’ll continue moving forward.

“It’s funny being the old guy on the line. It’s nice to see those young guys and see how excited they are, and how excited I am to get back out there. That’s what I said to the guys, they still have the jitters and they still have them for the first preseason game. It shows that these guys want it and it’s been a lot of fun skating with those guys. They’ve got a lot of speed and to keep pushing the pace. Trying to keep up with them has been a lot of fun.”

There is still a long way to go for the 26-year-old winger, and his willingness to stick around the danger areas on Monday night was a welcomed one for a Bruins team that needs his 6-foot-6 body in front of the net. Hayes paid the price with stitches and a fat lip after taking a Dalton Prout high-stick to the mouth in front of the Columbus net that went uncalled on a Bruins PP at the end of the second period.

That’s all part of the big man’s game on the ice, however. It’s also the kind of battle and determined fight that Hayes will need to show much more consistently in his second season with the hometown Bruins if he’s truly looking to bounce-back from last year’s mediocre performance.