Yankees beat Orioles at 2:15 in the morning


Yankees beat Orioles at 2:15 in the morning

From Comcast SportsNet Wednesday, September 7, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) -- After waiting several hours to start the game, the New York Yankees held on a few more minutes for the go-ahead run. Only 500 fans or so were left in the stands early Wednesday when the Yankees finished off a rain-delayed 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles at 2:15 a.m., helped when a video replay upheld Francisco Cervelli's tiebreaking homer. With few options left for a makeup date, the messy game began at 11:08 p.m. after a delay of 4 hours, 3 minutes with roughly 1,000 fans in the stands. The Yankees and Major League Baseball were in constant contact before the first pitch. "I guess baseball wanted us to wait," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. Umpire crew chief Gary Darling confirmed it was MLB's call on when to finally start. As for the soggy conditions, "it was never bad enough for us to stop," he said. Cervelli hit his shot in the seventh inning off Tommy Hunter (3-3). Two fans reached near the left-field wall to grab it and Orioles manager Buck Showalter argued the ball was in play. The umpires reviewed the play, then confirmed their original home-run call. "They will tell you, even though they didn't tell me, that they need indisputable evidence to overturn what the decision was on the field," Showalter said. "I haven't looked real good at it. I know what the players saw." Brett Gardner followed with a home run, and the AL East-leading Yankees won their sixth in a row. It was a sloppy affair, full of wild throws and fielding misadventures -- four errors and two wild pitches, among them. Rain fell throughout the night, whipped by gusting winds. Puddles formed and the grounds crew spent nearly as much time on the field as the players, dumping bag after bag of diamond dust in hopes of drying out the pitcher's mound, batter's box and basepaths. "The dirt was too wet, but you got to play," Cervelli said. During a 10-minute break in the fifth, the sound system played "Fixing a Hole" by the Beatles while the Yankees huddled under the dugout roof and Showalter spoke to the umpires. Baltimore left fielder Matt Angle had the most glaring problem with the tough environment. He got twisted around when Cervelli lifted a fly in the fifth, dropped the ball for an error, slipped trying to recover and wound up with mud all over the front of his uniform as a run scored. The fans had a hard time keeping their feet, too. In the fifth, two men chased a foul ball behind the plate, lost their balance on a metal walkway and splashed to the ground with a thud. They got an ovation for their effort. All fans from the announced attendance of 44,573 -- the amount of tickets sold -- were allowed to move down to the expensive seats. There was no announcement about that over the public-address system -- instead they were told individually. The Yankees also said tickets for this game could be redeemed for a free seat during the 2012 season. The game ended so late, in fact, that the announcers on the Yankees' YES television network kept reminding viewers this was live action, not a post-midnight replay. This was not, however, the longest delay at Yankee Stadium. In 2009, a game between the Yankees and Washington was held up by rain for nearly 5 hours. Several games in the majors were delayed by rain Tuesday on what was already shaping up as a difficult week for New York and the Orioles. The teams are scheduled to play again Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium, then meet in Baltimore on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. for the makeup of a previous rainout. "Doubleheaders are hard on your guys," Girardi said. "Both scenarios weren't great." Showalter echoed that sentiment as he looked ahead. "We're trying to make sure we're competitive. It's not always the people who just played in the game until 2 or 3 in the morning," he said. Cory Wade (4-0) won in relief. Mariano Rivera earned his 39th save of the season and 598th of his career. Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer for the Orioles. Chris Piteo of Springfield, Mass., was among the fans who waited out the delay. "This is my one chance to see a game here this season," he said. "It's not like I can come any day to Yankee Stadium." With him were his sister, Marcy, and her two sons, ages 12 and 10. They were all aware that Wednesday was a school day back home. "We're already discussing the options," she said with a smile. NOTES: The Yankees lead the majors with 200 home runs. ... Baltimore INF Mark Reynolds leads the majors with 27 errors. ... Chris Davis struck out on a breaking ball that bounced off his left foot, but reached first base on the wild pitch by Yankees starter Phil Hughes. ... Yankees DH Jorge Posada connected in the third inning against Hunter. His previous home run also came against Hunter, on Aug. 26. ... Reigning Miss America Teresa Scanlan sang "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch.

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

Click here for the complete story

Curran: End result vs. Steelers justifies Patriots 'bend but don't break' defense

Curran: End result vs. Steelers justifies Patriots 'bend but don't break' defense

PITTSBURGH – “This game isn’t about numbers,” said Rob Ninkovich. “Everyone thinks about sacks and all these things as huge markers for success but there are a lot of teams with a lot of sacks that aren’t winning. I’ll take the wins over the sacks any day.”

It was another win on Sunday for the Patriots – 27-16 over the Steelers in Pittsburgh. There were no sacks. There was no chaos, no befuddled young backup quarterback flushed and addled by a complex defense. In fact, Landry Jones looked real comfortable back there in throwing for 281 yards and a touchdown.

Like Carson Palmer lighting it up late or Ryan Tannehill throwing for 387 or Tyrod Taylor converting third downs with impunity, Jones on Sunday continued a trend of quarterbacks looking pretty good against a very talented defense that – nonetheless – walked away with a comfortable win.


The Patriots have allowed 107 points – the fewest in the AFC and fewer than all but three teams in the NFC and all three of those have played one fewer game.

But it’s hard to escape the feeling that they’re playing it too close to the bone.

Except, maybe, Bill Belichick who once said quite plainly, “Stats are for losers.”

Not all stats though. We hear it often – three stats matter more than the rest: red zone defense, turnovers and third-down efficiency.

And if you look at those numbers for the Patriots defense, they were all fairly gaudy.

Pittsburgh was in the Patriots’ red zone four times. They came away with 10 points. They were inside the Patriots’ 40 six times and finished with 16.

The Patriots yield yards but not points. And that’s by design, said Ninkovich.

“In an offense like that with a bunch of very explosive players, one slant can turn into a touchdown so you have to be really careful in your coverages,” said the veteran defensive end. "There’s not just one go-to guy. They got a running back that can catch it out of the backfield and make plays (Le’Veon Bell). (Antonio Brown) can catch it anywhere on the field and make plays. You just have to make sure with a guy like (Landry Jones) to have him make the throws. It’s hard in this league to be perfect. So to have him sit back there and try to make all the throws was what we chose and the secondary did a great job.”

The Patriots rushed three or four most of the game. When they ran a corner blitz with Malcolm Butler, he didn’t get home and Jones hit Bell for a decent gain.  

“You can’t just pin your ears back because that’s when you get in trouble,” Ninkovich explained. “And then next week, there’s a guy (Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor) who can move in the pocket so that’s another whole type of defense you run with a mobile quarterback.”

Last season’s game at Buffalo is a good example of why Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia don’t like the feeding frenzy approach to defense. New England had the game in hand, 37-13 entering the fourth. And then, with everyone wanting to get in on the rush, Buffalo scored 19 in the fourth quarter with Taylor breaking contain and making plays with his feet.

After that game (and really, for most of Belichick’s tenure here), the Patriots were more interested in seeing what a quarterback could do in terms of stringing plays together.

The Patriots like their chances in that realm.

“It’s 1-on-1 matchups, guys making plays on third down and in the red area,” said safety Devin McCourty. “Guys are gonna make great catches every once in a while. Guys are gonna make great throws. You gotta live with that. They’re in the NFL too. But if we’re consistent with how we’re playing we’ll make enough plays to do well.”

They certainly do that.  As unpleasant as it seemed when the Steelers made it 14-13 (and had skewered themselves in the first half with a missed field goal, an end zone pick and a hold that wiped out a touchdown), the Patriots walked out with another double-digit win.

It felt like the butt-kicking could have been more thorough, though.

How does McCourty think Bill Belichick, film critic, will view the performance?

“Honestly, you never know,” McCourty said. “There’s times we leave the field feeling like we played terrible and (Belichick says), ‘You fix a couple things and we’ll be all right.’ And there’s times where you feel like you played well and we go in there and get ripped.

“The things Bill focuses on and what he expects out of our defense is what he (keys on) every week,” McCourty stressed. “No matter what the media says, no matter what the stats say. If we don’t give up any points but there’s three third downs where we give up the wrong leverage, that’s a problem. Monday afternoon (after film breakdown) is always a mystery.”

The results for the Patriots haven’t been (with the exception of the opener) cliffhangers. But the feeling persists that one of these weeks, this defense that plays a style daring the opposing quarterback to not shoot himself in the foot will go up against a quarterback that actually doesn’t.