Wakeup call: Welcome back, boys

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Wakeup call: Welcome back, boys

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, September 28:

BASEBALL
The Yankees aren't in yet. (AP)

That's eight in a row for the Rays. (AP) And to think, it all started after we thought the Red Sox had left them for dead with two straight victories at The Trop.

Is it time for the Orioles to start talking contract extension with Buck Showalter? (CSN Baltimore)

The Tigers are suddenly taking command of the A.L. Central. (AP)

And that's because the White Sox are going down quietly. (CSN Chicago)

But they're still talking bravely. (CSN Chicago)

The Rangers are closing in on the A.L. West title. (AP)

And the Dodgers are closing in -- at least a little -- on the Cardinals in the N.L. wild-card hunt. (AP)

Manny Acta's out in Cleveland. (AP)

And Bo Porter's in, in Houston. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
University of Tennessee officials aren't commenting on the age and sex discrimination charges brought against them by former Lady Vols media director Debby Jennings, but they angrily deny her allegation that the school forced Pat Summitt to step down as women's basketball coach after she was diagnosed with early onset dementia. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
The first upset of the weekend happened early: Washington 17, Stanford 13. (AP)

Remember, West Virginia students: The couch you save may be your own. (NBC's College Football Talk)

GOLF
Jose Maria Olazabal has two words for Ryder Cup fans in Medinah: Be nice. (AP)

HOCKEY
Good to see the owners are going into the resumption of labor talks with such a positive attitude. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Another way to describe the lockout: "A cash-flow challenge." At least it is for the CBC. (AP)

Don Cherry sticking up for Europeans?? The lockout sure makes strange bedfellows. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
If you flop in the NBA from now on, you're going to get hit. In the pocketbook. (AP)

But is this really such a good idea? (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Erik Spoelstra spent the summer picking the brains of coaches who've won consecutive titles as he attempts to bring another championship to Miami. (AP) No word if the consensus advice was: Give the ball to LeBron and step back.

But they play the games on the court, Bob. (AP)

Lakers forward Jordan Hill pleads no contest to assaulting his former girlfriend. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
The Browns dared Joe Flacco to beat them. So he did. (CSN Baltimore)

The biggest cheers in Baltimore last night, though, were for the men in stripes. (AP)

Someone finally tracked down the replacement referee whose call in Monday night's Green Bay-Seattle game was the straw that may have broken the lockout, and guess what? He still thinks he got it right. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

It's supposed to hurt, Kyle. (CSN Washington)

To the surprise of no one -- except maybe Champ Bailey -- the NFL denied Joe Mays' appeal of his one-game suspension. (AP)

Andre Carter may play for the Raiders Sunday in Denver, less than a week after signing with Oakland. (CSN Bay Area)

And Matthew Stafford may play for the Lions Sunday against the Vikings, a week after hurting his hip. (AP)

The guy who was trying to extort money from RGIII pleads guilty. (AP)

Brandon Marshall's not sorry for the things he said about Warren Sapp. He's just sorry he said them publicly. (AP)

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.