Niners' Smith looking for ways to get to Brady

883707.jpg

Niners' Smith looking for ways to get to Brady

FOXBORO -- On Monday night, J.J. Watt hit Tom Brady hard several times, but he couldn't come up with a single sack in the game. 
Watt has the second most sacks in the NFL, with 16.5.
On Sunday night, the Patriots' offensive line will have another sack machine on their hands. This time, in San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who leads the NFL with 19.5 sacks.
"It's definitely a good achievement, setting the franchise record last week," said Smith in a conference call on Wednesday. "It means a lot to me. It's one of the goals I have. And I just have to really keep it going, and see if I can make that number even better."
"He's got a very high motor," said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in his conference call. "He really likes football. And he's got a lot of physical attributes, speed and power. And he's a very smart guy."
And to think, the Patriots were actually the first team that Smith talked to at the NFL combine before the 2011 draft, where he was taken seventh overall by San Francisco.
Before being drafted, Smith also made a visit to New England.
"It was a good experience," said Smith. "There's a lot of history there, with them being Super Bowl champions. And the coaching staff does a great job of teaching their players. It's really just a well-built organization, and they're doing things right."
Nowadays, Smith and the 49ers are also doing things the right way. But they still have to figure out a plan to get to Brady on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
"Well, we'd sure like to find the answer to that," said Harbaugh on Wednesday. "And then implement it. But it is really difficult. They're tough to do that against."
"Tom Brady's ball mechanics are really good, and they do a good job of disguising things," said Smith. "So we've got to not only be disciplined, but try to anticipate, and pay attention to film so when it comes game time, we make sure we're not caught off-guard by anything."

Royer's late goal rallies Red Bulls past Revolution, 2-1

red_bulls_daniel_royer_052617.jpg

Royer's late goal rallies Red Bulls past Revolution, 2-1

HARRISON, N.J. - Daniel Royer finished a nice sequence in the 74th minute, Luis Robles made a diving save in the closing minutes and the New York Red Bulls rallied to beat the New England Revolution 2-1 on Saturday night.

Felipe sent the ball left to Kemar Lawrence alongside the box and he put a cross to Royer on the back post for an easy finish on his fourth goal.

Robles, who only allowed Lee Nguyen's penalty kick in the ninth minute, preserved the win with his fourth save, diving to his left to block Diego Fagundez's shot from outside the box.

Bradley Wright-Phillips tied it for New York (6-6-2), which was winless in its last four matches, when he pounced on a loose ball and backheeled it into the net. New England goalkeeper Cody Cropper had pounced on a cross by Kemar Lawance, but Cropper could hold on and Wright-Phillips was there to clean up for his sixth goal.

Damien Perrinelle fouled Fagundez in the penalty area after a great pass from Kei Kamara, allowing Nguyen to step up for his sixth goal. New England (4-5-4) had won two straight and lost just one of its previous six. It is 0-5-2 on the road.

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

red_sox_brian_johnson_2_052617.jpg

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

BOSTON - Brian Johnson had quite a turnaround in his second time on Fenway Park's mound.

Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-hander became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

"The last time I walked off the mound here was 2012 and I made two pitches," Johnson said. "Today I went nine innings. Today was pretty cool."

Johnson left Triple-A for a little over a month last season to get treatment for an anxiety issue.

"Obviously with some stuff that I've been gone through in my career, it's an awesome feeling" he said.

But despite the stellar outing, Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A after the game.

"That's the reality of the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a chance to congratulate him and yet option him back to Pawtucket, with David Price coming here Monday."

Brought up from the minors for the start, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. His only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I won't take anything away from what he did, but we're not swinging the bat very well."

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.