From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Bullpen perfection disappeared for the Baltimore Orioles when it mattered most.These exciting young Birds had been 76-0 this year when leading after seven innings, their relievers carrying them through the hot days of summer and the crisp nights of early fall. They had won 16 consecutive extra-inning games since losing their first two of the year to the New York Yankees in April, the best streak in the big leagues in more than a half-century.They were two outs from taking control of their AL division series. Jim Johnson had converted a big league high 51 saves.And then, just when you least expected ...Raul Ibanez, pinch hitting for no less than Alex Rodriguez, drove a 94 mph fastball over the right-center field scoreboard with one out in the ninth inning to tie the score 2-all.Three innings later, it was Ibanez again.The 40-year-old sent a 91 mph Brian Matusz pitch into the right field second deck leading off the 12th, giving the Yankees a 3-2 win Wednesday night and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series."Obviously, it hurts," Johnson said, "but you got to get over it quick because we got to come back tomorrow and compete again."The Yankees have a long history of doing this.There was Tino Martinez's tying, two-run homer off Arizona's Byung-Hyun Kim with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2001 World Series. There Scott Brosius' tying, two-run homer off Kim with two outs in the ninth the following night.Rodriguez hit a tying, two-run homer off Minnesota's Joe Nathan in Game 2 of the 2009 AL division series, then hit a tying solo shot of the Los Angeles Angels' Brian Fuentes in the second game of that year's AL championship series.Ibanez, as Orioles' fans might remember, hit a tiebreaking double in the 12th off Pedro Strop that gave New York a 5-4 win at Camden Yards on April 10. The next night, Nick Swisher's two-run homer in the 10th against Kevin Gregg propelled the Yankees to a 6-4 victory.Since then, the Orioles had won 16 in a row in extras, the best in the majors since Cleveland won 17 straight in 1949."Just left the pitch up. Ibanez obviously has been swinging the bat well and I just missed my location, and he made it hurt," Matusz said. "You just keep going. Just clear it out of our minds and move on to tomorrow. We're still in this."All for naught was the great effort of Miguel Gonzalez, a 28-year-old rookie making his postseason debut. He allowed one run and five hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and a walk, allowing his only run on Derek Jeter's RBI triple just out of reach of bubble-blowing center fielder Adam Jones in the third."I'm not satisfied that I didn't catch the ball," Jones said. "To make an excuse, that's definitely not me. I just plain didn't catch the ball."Baltimore's Nos. 8 and 9 hitters provided early power, with Ryan Flaherty sending a slider from Hiroki Kuroda over the right-field short porch in the third and Manny Machado putting another slider in the Baltimore bullpen leading off the fifth. They became the first pair of rookies to homer in the same postseason game. Just 20, Machado became the second-youngest player with a postseason home run, behind only Atlanta's Andruw Jones who was 19 in 1996.Then it all unraveled in the ninth."It breaks your heart, but we've been doing great," Gonzalez said. "Can't complain. The guys have been battling the whole year and things happen. It's part of baseball. It was a tough game for us tonight, but I know we're going to come out tomorrow and play a better game."Orioles manager Buck Showalter already was looking ahead."Stunned left me a while ago. I got a grip on how hard this is to do. The problem with a lot of coaches and managers, they forget about how hard the game is to play and how tough a night they've had on given times. It's very hard to do what they do," Showalter said. "Jimmy is a big-hearted, talented guy, that -- believe me, we'd be at home watching without people like Jim Johnson. He's a special guy. We're real proud of him, and you'll see him again tomorrow night, I hope."In the playoffs for the first time since 1997, the Orioles must win Thursday night to save their season."You've got to stay positive through this," Matusz said. "We've all worked so hard this year to get to this point. And you can't let one bad pitch or one game ruin it. You've just got to keep positive."
BOSTON – With his new head coach Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics ownership and front office officials surrounding him, Jayson Tatum’s mind seemed to be somewhere else briefly.
He looked ahead, way, way ahead to the other end of the Celtics’ practice court where there were banners, lots of banners, raised high above all else in the gym.
This wasn’t just a passing glance, either.
- On Tweet he received from Bradley Beal
- On his fit with the Celtics, and his relationship with Jaylen Brown
- On his injury last year, and on joining the Celtics
It was clear that the newest Celtic was in deep thought as he stared at the 17 banners and the one left blank, a steady reminder of what this franchise is about, past and present.
Yes, it’s a lot to soak in for anyone let alone a 19-year-old kid whose career with the Celtics can be timed on a stopwatch.
But the soft-spoken 6-foot-9 forward has been here long enough to understand that success around here is about more than playing well; it’s playing to win a championship.
And that in many ways separates Tatum from his teenage brethren who made up the majority of Thursday night’s NBA draft which included an NBA-record 17 players taken in the first round who like Tatum, were just one year removed from high school.
All come into the NBA with lots to learn, as well as goals and aspirations for this upcoming NBA season.
During an interview with CSN on Friday, I asked Tatum about what in his mind would make for a successful season.
And his answer initially was to ask me a question, “Individual or team?”
So I replied, either one.
“To get back to where they were last year and get over that hump,” he said. “Championships, chasing that number 18, that would be the ultimate success for me.”
That served as a reminder as to why despite having a handful of players under consideration at No. 3, the Celtics did the right thing in selecting Tatum.
His words may seem like the politically correct response, but take a look at the kid’s basketball resume and you’ll quickly see he is indeed about winning and doing so in whatever way possible.
After missing his first eight games at Duke with a foot injury, Tatum gradually improved as the season progressed and wound up on the all-rookie team as well as being named to the All-ACC third team.
Once the Blue Devils got to the ACC Tournament, Tatum became a different, better, more dominant player.
Indeed, Tatum led the Blue Devils to their first ACC championship since 2011 and did so in historic fashion as the Blue Devils became the first ACC school to win the conference tournament with four wins in four days.
Late in the title game against Notre Dame, Tatum put together a sequence of plays that speaks to why the Celtics were seriously considering taking him with the number one overall pick had they not been able to trade it for the No. 3 and a future first-round pick.
With the scored tied at 65, Tatum made a free throw that put Duke ahead.
Moments later, he blocked a shot and finished off the play with a lay-up that gave Duke a three-point lead.
After a Notre Dame basket, Tatum connected with a teammate for a 3-pointer that pushed Duke’s lead to four points with around a minute to play.
And then there was the 3-point play Tatum converted after getting fouled on a dunk which secured a 76-69 Duke win over the Fighting Irish.
Free throws. Blocks. Getting out in transition. Passing.
When his team needed him most, he gave whatever was required at that moment which is one of the intangibles that makes Boston feel good about his future.
“He does whatever he has to do to help you win,” said an NBA scout who said he has seen Tatum play “at least a dozen times.”
He added, “Like all of these kids coming into the league now, he has some things he has to get better at, get more consistent with. But he makes winning plays, whether it’s for himself or others. He’s a lot more unselfish a player than he’s given credit for being.”
And he’s 19 years old, which is both a blessing and a burden when you’re an NBA team executive charged with committing at least two years and millions of dollars into a young man.
Part of the process when making a draft choice, especially when it’s one of the top picks, is character evaluation.
Of the players at or near the top of the draft board, multiple league executives contacted by CSNNE.com in the past couple of weeks said this was an area where Tatum stood out in comparison to all of the top prospects.
“He’s the kind of young man you’d love whether he was a basketball player or not,” one Western Conference executive told CSNNE.com. “If you’re ranking guys on character alone in this draft, he’s your number one pick.”
Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, acknowledged the challenge of differentiating between miscues made by a teenager as being problems of concern going forward, or whether that’s a teenager making the kind of bad/questionable decisions most teens make.
“It’s dangerous to play too much into a 19-year-old kid’s behavior,” Ainge told CSN’s A. Sherrod Blakely and Kyle Draper on Friday. “But I think that, with all the things we do, from physical, emotional, mental, character, work ethic and their skills … it’s just really hard at 19. You hate to just be labeled what you are at 18.”
But in regards to Tatum specifically, Ainge added, “Jayson is a high character guy. We know he will get better because of his character and his work ethic.”
Said Tatum: “It’s a great feeling. Being part of a great organization like the Celtics; think of all the great players of the past and you can follow in their footsteps.”
And in doing so, blaze a trail of his own in the pursuit of Banner 18.
BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.
Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.
But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.
“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”
After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation.
“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”
Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.
“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”
Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.
“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.
“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”
Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.
Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”
Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.
“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."