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on just playing the game and not what every

  • 26 Jun
    NEW YORK -- There was nothing mysterious about Michael Pinedas performance this time. [b]Russell Gage Jersey[/b] . Masahiro Tanakas dominant outing was pretty straight forward, too. A day that began with snow in the outfield ended with a double whitewashing. Pineda followed an overpowering outing by Tanaka with one of his own, pitching six innings of four-hit ball as the New York Yankees beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0 on a bitterly cold Wednesday night to complete its first doubleheader shutout sweep since 1987. "It just goes to show you how well our pitchers threw," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "When you shut out a team for 18 innings youre doing things right." Tanaka (2-0) struck out 10 and allowed just two bunt hits -- one replay aided -- over eight innings in a 3-0 win in the opener of the day-night twinbill. Carlos Beltran homered for a third straight game, off Jason Hammel in the first inning of the Cubs first regular-season game at the current Yankee Stadium. "That split is not something you want to sit on. Its not something youre going to be able to handle," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "But, as it was coming out of the hand, as the guys were coming in, they were saying, Gosh, it looks like a fastball. It ends up diving." Brett Gardner and Scott Sizemore had RBI singles off Travis Wood (0-2) in the nightcap, helping the Yankees win for the fifth time in six games and handing Chicago its fourth straight loss. New York had not won by shutout twice in one day since April 9, 1987, against Kansas City, according to STATS, and no team in the major leagues had done it since Minnesota swept Oakland on June 26, 1988. The Cubs had not been blanked twice on the same day since Larry Jackson and Ray Sadecki pitched complete games for St. Louis on June 27, 1962. Chicago was 9 for 61 (.148) at the plate, dropping its season average to .230, and struck out 17 times. Pineda (2-1) was pitching for the first time since he was spotted with brown goo on his right hand during Thursdays 4-1 win against Boston, touching off a debate about pitchers use of sticky substances to get better grips in cool weather. It was significantly colder Wednesday, with temperatures in the low-40s and a frigid wind, but Pinedas hand was clean throughout. "I didnt do nothing," Pineda said when asked if he used something to improve his hold on the ball. "I was focusing on throwing the ball good." And he did, despite pitching in some really harsh weather. In fact, he said it was the coldest hes ever pitched in. Anthony Rizzos triple with two outs in the sixth off Pineda was the Cubs only extra-base hit of the day. Chicago totalled six hits against a pair of 25-year-old power pitchers who rarely walk batters. Tanaka (2-0) and Pineda each gave up one free pass. "Both of them, they were good," said Emilio Bonifacio, who was 0 for 8 on the day. "Their breaking pitches, they were pretty good, so it was really tough." Shawn Kelley yielded a hit to Rizzo, who had three hits overall, in the ninth inning of the opener but secured his fourth save. Adam Warren put runners on second and third in the ninth inning of the nightcap, but finished for his first save. With Tuesdays rainout postponing Jackie Robinson Day festivities, the Yankees unveiled a plaque honouring Nelson Mandela before the second game. Players from both teams wore No. 42. The Cubs have yet to win in the Bronx. They were swept in the 1932 and 38 World Series and lost all three-games in 2005, their only interleague series in New York. After an overnight storm, the grounds crew used blowers to melt the ice on the tarp before removing the covering from the infield. Snow still covered the grass in right field while the Cubs took batting practice, and many players wore ski caps. But it wasnt too cold for Beltran. He connected on a 1-1 changeup from Hammel (2-1) with one out in the first. Dean Anna started again at shortstop for Derek Jeter and drove in his run with a fly to left field in the fourth. Jeter went 1 for 5 in the night game, his first action since Friday. New York added a run in the fifth when Junior Lake lost Gardners liner to left in the sun for a double. After Gardner advanced on Beltrans groundout, Jacoby Ellsburys bat made contact with catcher John Bakers glove before dunking a ball in front of the mound. Catchers interference was called but under rule 6.08 (c), the Yankees had the choice to reject the interference call -- it would have put runners at the corners -- and take the play as it unfolded on the field. The elected for the latter, with Gardner scoring and Ellsbury tagging out by Hammel. "With one out, you take the run," Girardi said. Lake got the first hit off Tanaka with one out in the second when he bunted toward the third base side, and the right-hander fielded it cleanly. Initially, first base umpire Manny Gonzalez called Lake out but Renteria requested a challenge and the call was overturned. Hammel was nearly as good as Tanaka. He yielded three runs and five hits, striking out five. NOTES: Cubs pitchers Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva will swap start days. Jackson will pitch Saturday against the Reds and Villanueva on Sunday. ... Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira (right hamstring) is working out in Tampa, Fla. Girardi said he will play three innings Thursday. Teixeira is eligible to return from the DL Sunday. ... Yankees closer David Robertson (left groin strain) said he was going to pitch in a minor league game in Tampa on Saturday. [b]Kyle Vasey Jersey[/b] . - Kobe Bryant and LeBron James traded hugs, big shots and verbal jabs all night with warmth and humour. [b]Giorgio Tavecchio Jersey[/b] .com) - Rakeem Christmas scored 21 points, B.TORONTO – It may have just been the last gasps of a wounded hockey club on life support, but it kept the Maple Leafs faint playoff hopes alive – barely – for another day. They hung on to win (and picked up points) for the first time in more than two weeks Tuesday night, halting a drudging eight-game losing streak with a narrow 3-2 win over Calgary at a quiet ACC. "Well, it beats losing thats for sure," Cody Franson said of the Torontos first win since Mar. 13. Masterpiece it was not. Standing nervously even with the rebuilding Flames after 40 minutes, the Leafs pulled ahead on third period goals from Dave Bolland and David Clarkson – the first for the 30-year-old Clarkson in nearly two months – before hanging on in the dying seconds of regulation. "I dont want to get too far ahead of ourselves because we didnt paint a Mona Lisa here tonight," said a relieved, but still cautious Randy Carlyle afterward. "Its been a long time. Its been too long. Its a much better feeling than what weve been able to enjoy here over the last while, thats for sure." Close and unpleasing as it may have been, it was a win no less for a club thats found all too many ways to lose amid a collapse thats all but shattered their once certain playoff entry. After their last win in mid-March – a resilient 3-2 victory in Los Angeles – the Leafs stood three points up on the Canadiens and Lightning, six ahead of the Blue Jackets and a seemingly insurmountable nine up on the physically beaten Red Wings. More than two weeks without a point destroyed that cushion and then some. Montreal and Tampa stormed far ahead for control of second and third in the Atlantic division – 93 points apiece – Toronto (82 points) trailing Columbus by a point (83) and Detroit by two (84) for the final two wild card positions in the East – both have two games in hand and more regulation/overtime wins. All of which makes their playoff hopes with five games to go razor-thin at best with an especially daunting Thursday night clash with Boston ahead – the Bruins have raced to the top of the NHL with 15 wins in the past 16 games (15-0-1). Asked before Tuesday morning if he believed his team still had a realistic opportunity to land a second straight playoff berth, Carlyle responded with whatever hope he could muster. "Its realistic if you win," he said. "Weve got to win the first one. Thats the bottom line. "We cant change whats happened. We dont like whats happened. Were not comfortable with whats happened but move on. Thats what our focus is." Carlyle said hed enjoy that first win for five, maybe 10 minutes. He knows one does little to alter the fortunes of a team clinging to the ropes and all five might not even be enough. Hope is still just hanging on for life. Five Points 1. Rare Bright Spot David Clarkson hasnt had much to celebrate in a lost first season with the Leafs, but he found a little light with a breakaway goal in the third period on Tuesday night. The goal, his fifth of the season, snapped a 16-game pointless drought and was his first since Feb. 4. "Its no secret, its been tough," he said of a season in which hes mustered just 11 points, looking lost more often than not. "Personally, Im not happy with the season. [But] I hold myself accountable. Im someone thats got to be better." "Numbers arent always everything," said Franson in defence of Clarkson afterward. "Clarkies been a guy thats gone out and worked hard every night for us. Hes tried to be very physical and create a lot on our cycles. You cant judge a guy just by numbers. I think hes brought a lot more to the table than people give him credit for." 2. Kessels Pain The stick came down on the bench, shattering into pieces at tthe frustrated one-hand chop of Phil Kessel. [b]Sharrod Neasman Jersey[/b]. The 26-year-old had just taken another puck to the bruised right foot hes been bothered with since Saturday, storming off the ice in obvious pain and disgust. "He had the sign on his foot obviously," Carlyle said with some humour. Kessel did not practice Monday and remained off the ice ahead of the tilt with Calgary on Tuesday morning. Still searching for the first 40-goal campaign of his career, he remains stuck on 36 goals and 77 points, totaling 17 minutes and 36 seconds against the Flames – his lowest total since a Jan. 23 beatdown in Dallas. The Leafs improved to just 7-22-2 when he does not a record a point. 3. Bernier Post-Olympic Four goals had passed Jonathan Bernier in each of his previous three starts after returning from a nagging groin injury, but on Tuesday, just two of a tame 24 shots slipped by in victory. "It was nice, actually," he said of the comparatively quiet night. Stellar from October to February, Bernier actually had his worst month of the season following the Olympic break in March, compiling a .907 percentage in eight starts. It was a rare dip from a goaltender whos been ultra-consistent; Bernier posted a save percentage of at least .923 in four of the previous five months. He improved to 6-8-2 when stopping between 20-29 shots this season. 4. Distractions In hopes of distracting the mind from a playoff chance-sapping skid, Jake Gardiner opted to see a movie Monday, taking in the new Russell Crowe flick, Noah. "Its tough," he said of getting away from a losing streak that finally ended Tuesday. "You look on Twitter or TV, its pretty much what everyones talking about right now. But were kind of used to that. Weve had some ups and downs throughout the season and throughout the past, youve just got to take it in stride." 5. Distractions II Almost at the end of his rookie season in the NHL, Morgan Rielly has learned at least one tool to insulate himself from the often high-pitched noise of Toronto. "I dont check Twitter as often," Rielly said. "Its hard though because when youre out eating at Earls or something, its on TV and theres people talking about our skid, trade rumours or how weve been playing. But honestly, you cant really worry about it too much as you all know. Its just a matter of keeping concentrated on just playing the game and not what everybodys saying." Avoiding Twitter was a lesson the 20-year-old picked up in training camp, "when youre not sure if youre going to make the team or not and theres tweets about you not making the team or theres tweets about you on the team," he said. "You cant be too concerned about whats going on out there. Youve just got to worry about what youre able to control and all that is is playing hockey." Stats Pack 2-9-0 – Leafs record in the past 11 games. 17:36 – Ice-time for Phil Kessel on Tuesday, his lowest since Jan. 23. 16 – Consecutive games without a point for David Clarkson, a drought snapped Tuesday with his fifth goal of the season. 7-22-2 – Leafs record this season when Phil Kessel does not record a point. .907 – Save percentage for Jonathan Bernier in March. 17 – Games without a goal for Jay McClement, who snapped that drought Tuesday with his fourth of the season. 15:10 – Minutes for Paul Ranger, who returned to the lineup as the seventh defender against Calgary. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-1Season: 20.3% (7th) PK: 2-2Season: 78.6% (28th) Quote of the Night "I dont want to get too far ahead of ourselves because we didnt paint a Mona Lisa here tonight." - Randy Carlyle, following a 3-2 win over the Flames. Up Next The Leafs host the Bruins at the ACC on Thursday night. 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