Wakeup call: The replacement refs strike again

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Wakeup call: The replacement refs strike again

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, September 25:

BASEBALL
Life is good in Yankee Universe: They won, the Orioles split, and Andy Pettitte is back. (AP)

The Rangers now lead the A's by five games with nine to play in the A.L. West after Monday night's walkoff win. (AP)

Status quo in the A.L. Central as the White Sox (CSN Chicago) and Tigers (AP) both won. (AP)

Looks like the Cardinals are going to have the chance to defend their World Series championship after all. (AP)

Substitute "Bobby Valentine" for "Ozzie Guillen", and "any member of the Red Sox" for "Heath Bell", and you might have yourself a preview of some post-Oct. 3 interviews you could be hearing around here. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
I don't know what your plans were from 5-9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, but change 'em. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Rudy's all excited about 4-0 Notre Dame. (CSN Chicago)

COLLEGE HOCKEY
The experts are predicting another banner year at Boston College. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

HOCKEY
The Seattle Oilers? Maybe. (AP)

OLYMPICS
Talk about a gold medal performance. Kerri Walsh Jennings just discovered she was five weeks pregnant with her third child when she and teammate Misty May Treanor dominated the beach volleyball competition in London. (NBC's Off The Bench)

PRO BASKETBALL
None other than James Worthy is warning the Lakers not to be planning that championship parade just yet. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

New addition to the pro sports injury list: Puncture wound on the ankle from stepping on a spike strip in a parking garage. (AP) No, really.

PRO FOOTBALL
I'm sure you've heard all about it by now, but here are the details on the incredible finish in Seattle. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Golden Tate doesn't know what all the fuss is about, since "I know I had the ball." (Pro Football Talk)

Give Mike McCarthy credit: He somehow held his tongue. For the most part. (Pro Football Talk)

Maybe he thought about John Fox and Jack Del Rio before stepping to the podium. (AP)

Look out, Michael Vick. Doesn't sound like Andy Reid's too happy with you. (CSN Philly)

It appears Darrius Heyward-Bey is going to be all right. (CSN Bay Area)

On a much more mundane level, so is Reggie Bush. (AP)

Still don't know about Matthew Stafford, though. (AP)

But we do about Austin Collie, and it ain't good. (AP)

The Bills may have both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller available when they host the Patriots on Sunday. (AP)

Another postgame, another arrest for the Falcons. (AP)

Score after one round: Brandon Marshall 1, Warren Sapp 0. (Pro Football Talk)

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.