Wakeup call: It's what we dreamed of; Stuart Cink = Tim Thomas

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Wakeup call: It's what we dreamed of; Stuart Cink = Tim Thomas

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, August 3:

BASEBALL
I know it's stupid, but it made me laugh. (NBCs Hardball Talk) So, how long before we start seeing MANTLEZ 2 shirts? And what do you think John Sterling's home-run call would be? ("Minnie mashed it!")

Welcome back, Jayson Werth. (CSN Washington)

A very interesting four-game series between the two best teams in the A.L. West ended in a split, thanks to Josh Hamilton. (AP)

If Bruce Bochy's serious, then Pablo Sandoval should have been in right field. (NBC's Off The Bench)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Tom Penders gives us a glimpse at the seamy underside of big-time college sports. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
LSU is beginning the season at No. 1. (AP)

Another starter -- albeit a kickerpunter -- has left Penn State. (AP)

GOLF
Stuart Cink = Tim Thomas. (NBC's Off The Bench)

OLYMPICS
Back in the days when you couldn't use professionals and we used to send our collegians to play the quasi-pro Communist-bloc teams, we all wondered what would happen if the U.S. could use its NBA stars in the Olympics. I think we felt it would be something like this. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

And could you imagine what it would have been like if they hadn't eased up? (Pro Basketball Talk)

Isn't this what got the badminton players banned? (NBC)

David Beckham's skipping out on the L.A. Galaxy to attend the closing ceremonies. (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk) As would most of us, I'd wager.

An Australian newspaper prints what we all think. (NBC's Off The Bench)

PRO FOOTBALL
Apparently, Luck Fever has yet to sweep Indianapolis. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The Browns have a new owner: A guy from Tennessee who owns a piece of the Steelers and promises to keep the team in Cleveland. (AP)

First, Jeff Otah learned he wasn't going to be a New York Jet. Now he finds out he won't be a Carolina Panther, either. (AP)

At last, the Jets are practicing the one thing Tim Tebow does well. (AP)

Looks like Rex Ryan did, indeed, learn his lesson: This time, he's trying to get in front of a budding controversy. (AP)

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

NEW YORK -- The division title was there for the taking Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. When you've won 11 straight and steamrolled every other team in the division, what's one more?

One too many, apparently.

The Red Sox' 6-4 defeat to the New York Yankees postponed the Champagne party for at least one night. In and of itself, that's not a huge concern. The Sox' magic number remains one with five games to play and the club's epic hot streak had to come to an end eventually.

A better night by either David -- Ortiz or Price -- might have resulted in corks popping and on-field celebrations.

Ortiz was 0-for-5 and stranded a total of seven baserunners. When he came to the plate in the top of the ninth against Tyler Clippard with two outs and two on, it almost seemed scripted.

Here was Ortiz in his final Yankee Stadium series, about to inflict one final bit of misery on the rival Yankees with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Talk about drama. Talk about one more famous, final scene.

Alas, Ortiz took some feeble swings and swung through strike three for the final out. Not even Ortiz, for all his clutch performances, can conjure a game-winner on-demand every time.

A far bigger concern was the work of Price. Perhaps the best thing than can be said of him for now is that he almost certainly will not have to face the Yankees again this season, against whom he's compiled a gaudy 7.89 ERA this season.

More troubling, though, is that Price is not exactly hitting his stride as the postseason appears on the near horizon. In his last three starts combined, Price has pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed 27 hits and 14 runs.

That isn't the line of someone at peak form at the right time. To the contrary, after a run of outings in which it again appeared Price had figured everything out, he's regressed in his last three.

Most troubling Tuesday was a repeated inability to turn back the Yankees after his team had pulled close on the scoreboard.

Price spotted the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and the Sox finally scored twice in the top of the 6th to close within one at 3-2. But Price quickly gave anther run back in the bottom of the inning.

Then the Sox scored two more times in the seventh to tie things at 4-4. . . but Price gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the inning.

"Very frustrating,'' sighed Price. "It's something I talk about all the time. It's a very big deal. And it's something I feel like I've struggled with this entire year. Whenever you're going good, it's something you're doing very well. And whenever you're going bad...you get a lead, give it right back. . . that's tough.''

It also doesn't portend well for the postseason, where Price, as you may have heard, has a spotty track record.

With some strong starts in the final few weeks, he could have reached the playoffs with both momentum and confidence.

Instead, he's got one more start -- Sunday -- to straighten things out.

Ortiz? His postseason bona fides are set.

Price, meanwhile, has no such reservoir of success upon which to draw. And starts like Tuesday's only reinforce the doubts.

 

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

NEW YORK -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees:

 

QUOTES:

"I went 0-for-5 today, so I ain't got (anything) to talk about.'' - David Ortiz after turning around and seeing a small army of reporters waiting for him in front of his locker.

"To have a chance to clinch the division for us here (and come up sort), it's not acceptable. If my offense scores me four runs, I feel like I should be able to go out there and win.'' - David Price.

"The bottom line story to this one was (Price) mislocating within the strike zone.'' - John Farrell.

 

NOTES:

* Boston's season-best 11-game win streak was snapped with the loss.

* David Price took his first loss since Aug. 7.

* Price is 1-3 with a 7.89 ERA against the Yankees this season.

* Aaron Hill contributed his first pinch-hit homer in his career.

* Mookie Betts saw his streak of reaching base in 38 straight road games stopped.

* Dustin Pedroia posted his third straight multi-hit game.

* For the 20th time this season, Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a three-hit game.

* In his last 12 games, Andrew Benintendi has eight extra-base hits.

* Hill's pinch-hit homer was the third by the Red Sox this month.

 

STARS:

1) Tyler Austin

The rookie first baseman snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh with a two-run homer and also added two more hits in three at-bats.

2) Gary Sanchez

The first-year catcher continues to amaze, hitting his 20th homer in only his 51st game, sending the Yanks out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

3) Luis Cessa

Cessa took a big step forward from his last start against the Red Sox by keeping them scoreless through the first five innings before allowing two runs in the sixth.