Wakeup call: Dickie V. issues a warning about . . . Amanda Bynes??

886091.jpg

Wakeup call: Dickie V. issues a warning about . . . Amanda Bynes??

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, September 19:

BASEBALL
No one can accuse the Orioles of coasting back into a first-place tie with the Yankees. Not after 18 innings. Or 5 hours and 44 minutes. (AP)

If you're thinking Dusty Baker would love for the Reds to clinch the N.L. Central at Wrigley Field, considering that the Cubs fired him way back when, think again. (CSN Chicago)

However, since their magic number is down to four, it's possible. (AP)

It may be a badge of honor in some circles, but Ike Davis doesn't like the insinuation that he's a party animal. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Yunel Escobar says he wasn't trying to offend anyone, and he wasn't aiming it at anybody in particular, and he didn't see it as anything bad "at the time". With all that out of the way, he apologized -- and accepted a three-game suspension -- for the homophobic slur he painted on his eye black last week. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Raise your hand if you never thought you'd see the names Dick Vitale and Amanda Bynes in the same sentence. (NBC's Off The Bench) Raise both hands if you never thought you'd see Dickie V. issuing a general warning about her.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Brian Kelly is a Boston native and he loves the Red Sox, but he doesn't sound too enthused about the prospect of Notre Dame playing a game at Fenway Park. (CSN Chicago)

LSU will have to take on Auburn -- and the next few opponents on its schedule -- without starting running back Alfred Blue. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Can you imagine Bill Belichick beseeching local reporters to smile? (College Football Talk) Me, neither.

Injured Tulane safety Devon Walker has been moved to a rehabilitation center. (AP)

HOCKEY
Good news at last for the locked-out players: The NHLPA is restoring their insurance coverage after the league canceled it. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

If you're looking for more good news, you're going to have to look pretty hard. (CSN Philly)

And if they don't start negotiating again soon . . . well, look out below. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Yet another casualty of the lockout: The Summit Series anniversary game. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
They're just gobbling up tickets to see Austin Rivers in New Orleans. Oh, and maybe Anthony Davis, too. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Linsanity begins in Houston. (AP)

President Obama (finally!) salutes the Minnesota Lynx. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
We'll withhold comment on the irony of Jon Gruden calling Michael Turner "road rage" during the Falcons' win over the Broncos Monday night, and Turner then being arrested for DUI a few hours after the game. (AP)

The NFL and its locked-out referees continue to talk at, and not to, each other. (NBC's Pro Football Talk) That's not how you get it done, boys.

26 million later, Vince Young is broke. (AP) And jobless.

L.A.'s hopes for an NFL franchise may have taken a hit. (Pro Football Talk)

Okay, okay; Jay Cutler admits he shouldn't have shoved J'Marcus Webb. He'll defend to the death, though, his right to yell at him. (AP)

And Jeff Ireland admits he shouldn't have sworn at that fan who told him to fire himself as Dolphins GM. (AP) But at least Ireland didn't shove anybody.

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

red-sox-matt-barnes.jpg

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

BOSTON — Matt Barnes has been coping with more than just a few bad outings on the mound, and he’s asking for help.

The Red Sox set-up man made some mechanical corrections that paid off in the eighth inning Monday night, when he struck out all three Twins he faced in a 4-1 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

“I just simplified the mechanics,” Barnes said afterward. “Two days ago, I was trying to get with more of an up, down, and out approach. I felt better in that outing. I know I gave up a run and walked the one guy, but I felt better around the zone. And then just kind of went into a slide step, doing what Andrew Miller was doing.”

Barnes allowed four runs spanning his previous three outings, retiring just four batters while walking five. But Barnes has had a lot more to worry about than just a brief professional rut. 

He’s been devoted to helping his girlfriend, Chelsea, through the unexpected loss of her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke

"Her father passed away [May 27]. That’s why I wasn’t in Baltimore for the two days [in early June], I was at his funeral,” Barnes said. "It’s tough, dealing with that, and she’s obviously having a hard time with it. She’s got her good days and her bad days. But it’s not easy. He was sick for a little while, and unexpectedly passed a lot faster than anybody ever expected him to. So, it’s been tough. She’s been alright, considering.”

There are a ton of medical bills still to be paid. A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with some large medical bills, and Barnes has asked on Twitter for people to spread the word if they’re able to.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her which is nice,” Barnes said of his girlfriend. “Everybody who’s helped out with donations and spreading the page, I couldn’t be more grateful, and she couldn’t be more grateful.”

Barnes is a big leaguer, but he’s still young and making the major league minimum. For every $1,000 total donated, Barnes plans to send a signed baseball to a random donor.

“I felt like it was a nice way, if they’re going to help me out, I can at least do that in return for them,” Barnes said.

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

BOSTON -- The way Chris Sale and the Boston relievers were pitching, the Red Sox didn't need to score a lot.

Sale went 6 1/3 overpowering innings with nine strikeouts, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the third straight game and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday in a matchup of two of the AL's top teams.

"When you've got him on the mound, all you need is a couple and he's going to do the rest," Moreland said. "Obviously, tonight was another example of that."

Dustin Pedroia had two hits and drove in a run and Moreland added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which kept pace with the New York Yankees atop the East.

The Red Sox started fast, grabbing a 2-0 lead just four batters into the first.

"When the guys score early for you, it's nice," Sale said. "It settles you down a little bit and allows you to throw strikes."

Coming off a three-game sweep in Cleveland that had jumped them over the Indians into first in the Central, the Twins' offense was stymied by Sale and three relievers. The loss coupled with Cleveland's win over Texas moved the Indians back a half-game ahead.

Sale (10-3) gave up one run and four hits, increasing his major-league strikeout total to 155. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save after Matt Barnes struck out three in the eighth. Heath Hembree faced one batter, getting a double play.

The 6-foot-6 Sale relied on his usual sharp-breaking slider and fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to fan eight over the first six innings, getting the initial half dozen with his breaking pitch.

"It's what we've seen many times. He had a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the biggest trouble we had was with that slider, especially down and in to righties."

Jose Berrios (7-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chris Gimenez had a solo homer for Minnesota.

"When you go against a guy like Chris Sale, you try to give 110 percent," Berrios said through a translator.

Boston jumped ahead when Moreland homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after the first run scored on a double-play grounder.

Berrios had given up just two runs in each of his previous four starts, and six of eight since being promoted on May 7.

Gimenez's homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: Molitor said RHP Phil Hughes, on the 10-day disabled list since late May with biceps tenderness, "felt good" but the pitcher had hoped his velocity would be a bit higher. ... LHP Glen Perkins, on the DL with a shoulder strain, is expected to resume throwing again Tuesday after a setback about a week ago.

Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez was out with a sore left knee after getting hit by a pitch Sunday. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the 10-day DL since June 20 with a left inner-ear infection, is slated to start a rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. Manager John Farrell said there's no planned date for his return. ... Moreland fouled a ball that bounced and hit near his right eye.

NICE START, KID

Red Sox 3B Tzu-Wei Lin singled to right in his first major-league at-bat and first career start.

The 23-year-old from Taiwan played third on his country's national teams in 2009 and 2010. He's the second Taiwanese-born player to make Boston's major-league roster. Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin was the other, in 2012.

RUNNING AROUND

Twins LF Eddie Rosario made three nice running, over-the-shoulder catches.

WELCOME ABOARD

Infielder Jhonny Peralta reported to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. Boston signed him to a minor-league deal after he was released by St. Louis earlier this month.

The plan is to alternate him at third and DH with Sandoval.

ROSTER MOVE

The Twins sent RHP Dillon Gee back to Triple-A to make room for Tuesday's starter LHP Hector Santiago.

UP NEXT

Twins: Santiago (4-6, 5.26 ERA) will be activated off the DL Tuesday. He's been sidelined since June 7 with a strained left shoulder.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.07) looks to snap a three-start winless stretch.