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  • July 10, 2019
    导出博客文章CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Jeff Locke broke into a grin before taking any questions.
    "Happy to be back," the left-hander said. No ones happier than the Pittsburgh
    Pirates, who used their formula from a highly successful first half -- great
    pitching, just enough scoring -- to salvage the final game of their series with
    Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. Locke allowed only an infield single through six
    innings of a 3-2 victory. Second-place Pittsburgh left town with a three-game
    cushion over the NL Central-rival Reds, who won the first two games. "Theres
    still a lot of games left, but to get this final game is big," said Garrett
    Jones, who homered off Homer Bailey. "Every game matters." Locke (9-2) and the
    majors second-stingiest bullpen limited the Reds to three singles, but issued
    seven walks and let a run score on a wild pitch. Jason Grilli worked the ninth
    for his 30th save in 31 chances. His only blown save came in Cincinnati on June
    19. Locke had to miss his last scheduled start and couldnt pitch in the All-Star
    game because of a sore back. There were no problems when he got back on the
    mound. "The back was great," Locke said. Bailey (5-9) struck out a career-high
    12 but remained winless since his no-hitter against San Francisco at Great
    American Ball Park this month. Jones hit his second homer in two games, and the
    Pirates added a pair of runs in the seventh. "That was the best Ive ever seen
    Bailey," Jones said. "His velocity was up, his cutter was nasty and he was
    hitting his spots well." The Pirates hit six homers during the series, all solo
    shots. It underscored their main concern as trade talks intensify: Can they
    score enough runs to make the playoffs? "Im just one of the pieces that need to
    pick it up," said Jones, who has 10 homers after hitting a career-high 27 last
    year. "I had a slow first half and this is the time to hit and be productive and
    help your team win." The Ohio River rivals dont meet again until September, when
    they play each other six times in the last nine games. Both hope they have a lot
    at stake when they get back together -- the Reds trying for a second straight NL
    Central title, the Pirates trying to end their 20-year streak of losing records
    and reach the post-season for the first time since 1992. They came away from
    their weekend series bunched a bit closer in their chase of division-leading St.
    Louis. Bailey threw the first of his two no-hitters last Sept. 28 in Pittsburgh,
    a 1-0 win over a team he has dominated during his career. He threw his second
    no-hitter on July 2. Since then, hes started three games -- two on the road --
    and gone 0-3 with a 5.50 ERA. Lockes performance was encouraging for the
    Pirates, who have stayed in contention despite injuries in the rotation.
    Shin-Soo Choos infield single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to
    a career-high 15 games. Locke walked a pair and threw a wild pitch that let in a
    run in the fifth inning. He lowered his ERA to 2.11. "What did he leave with,
    one hit?" manager Clint Hurdle said. "Thats good stuff." The Reds got another
    run in the eighth when Joey Votto grounded into a double play with the bases
    loaded against Mark Melancon, ending the relievers streak of 15 scoreless
    innings. It was Cincinnatis best chance to pull off the three-game sweep. "It
    hurts when you have opportunities like that," manager Dusty Baker said. "You
    hope youre going to blow it open." First baseman Gaby Sanchez, a late defensive
    replacement, started the double play, with Melancon covering first to take the
    relay and finish it. "Thats as good a double play as weve made all year in a
    tight situation," Hurdle said. Pittsburgh scored twice in the seventh on Jordy
    Mercers single and Jose Tabatas pinch-hit single off Bailey, who threw 121
    pitches. NOTES: The Pirates continue their 10-game trip with the first of four
    games in Washington. The Reds begin an 11-game trip to San Francisco, Los
    Angeles and San Diego. Theyre in a stretch of playing 18 of 21 on the road. ...
    Bailey fanned 10 during his no-hitter in Pittsburgh and nine during his
    no-hitter against the Giants. ... The Reds plan to call up RHP Greg Reynolds
    from Triple-A Louisville to start one of their doubleheader games in San
    Francisco on Tuesday. Reynolds, a California native who played at Stanford,
    started 16 games for Colorado in 2008 and 2011.
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    . With Parker having a quiet game for once, Nicolas Batum and
    Boris Diaw provided the scoring as France won its first major basketball title
    by beating Lithuania 80-66 on Sunday. It was a victory that ended a decade of
    frustration for Parker and a talented French generation, which lost the final
    against Spain two years ago and took bronze in 2005.
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    . Coach Tom Thibodeau says the former MVP will probably
    start travelling with the team in the next few weeks. Rose tore the meniscus in
    his right knee at Portland in November and was ruled out for the remainder of
    the season by the Bulls.
    . -- Yogi Ferrell orchestrates pretty much everything in Indianas offence.
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    . Wall made the comment in a speech to a Regina
    business crowd that included Lesnar. The U.S. wrestler and retired mixed martial
    artist says he was visiting his brothers farm in Saskatchewan and decided he
    wanted to hear what the premier had to say.
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    .Y. - General manager Billy King says the Brooklyn
    Nets are looking to add a big man and confirmed the team worked out centre
    Jason Collins, who would become the first openly gay active NBA player if
    signed. This story is part of ESPN The Magazines Oct. 12 Owners Issue. Subscribe
    today!Minnesota TwinsOverall: 87 Title track: 68 Ownership: 91 Coaching: 90
    Players: 110 Fan relations: 91 Affordability: 52 Stadium experience: 28 Bang for
    the buck: 108 Change from last year: -40So ... yeah. The Twins had a
    surprisingly exciting 2015 season in which the team won 83 games and remained
    relevant well into September. Optimism abounded. Target Field never looked
    greener. Young talent! New coach! Prospects! What would follow a mere seven
    months later was a new low even for a team that, over the past five seasons, had
    win totals of 63, 66, 66 and 70. A 1-9 start this season would lead to a 7-18
    April, and the Twins were 10.5 games back -- and entirely irrelevant -- in the
    AL Central by May 1, well on their way to what would ultimately become the worst
    season in the history of the franchise. Fifty. Nine. Wins.Whats goodThe Twins
    fell precipitously in each of our eight categories this year, but there are
    still few places more enjoyable to catch a game than at Target Field, which
    opened in 2010. The teams No. 28 rank in stadium experience is by far its
    highest rating, and the 10th-highest in baseball. And though the Twins roster is
    rated a dismal 110th (and no, guys, Joe Mauer is not to blame for this mess --
    hes, like, the 11th-biggest problem), Minnesota undeniably has terrific young
    talent in Miguel Sano, who amassed a .462 slugging percentage this past season,
    and 22-year-old Byron Buxton, who after his Sept. 1 call-up justified his
    longstanding reputation as the best prospect in baseball, batting .287, with a
    .357 on-base and .653 slugging percentage in the seasons final 29 games. And, of
    course, second baseman Brian Dozier became Babe Ruth for the seasons final 60
    games (1.019 OPS!). That was fun.Whats badSo, so muuch.dddddddddddd Before the
    season, most experts predicted the Twins would sport an average offense and
    staggeringly poor pitching. And, boy, were they right! It was wretched. The
    Twins allowed an MLB-worst 5.49 runs per game, an AL-worst WHIP of 1.45, and
    struck out the third-fewest players per nine innings of any team in baseball.
    Minnesota fell 40 spots overall in our rankings, driven by a 74-spot drop in
    players, a 56-spot drop in coaching, and a 28-spot drop in ownership. The twist?
    Compared with 2015, the players are largely the same; the coach, Paul Molitor,
    is light years ahead of his predecessor in terms of on-the-field strategy and an
    openness to analytics; and the Pohlads are ... the Pohlads. The problems are the
    same. The team just won 24 fewer games.Whats newIn a very un-Twins-like move,
    the team fired longtime GM Terry Ryan in July after two stints (1994-2007 and
    2011-2016) running the organization. After an exhaustive search with the help of
    third-party firm Korn Ferry, which helped the Timberwolves land Tom Thibodeau,
    the franchise hired 33-year-old Derek Falvey away from the Cleveland Indians to
    serve as the general manager and president of baseball operations. With a new
    voice, one that has experience with a winning organization and one who has
    worked to bridge the gap between folks who lean toward analytics in player
    evaluation and those who might favor scouting, the Twins are once again asking
    their fan base to believe. And however unwarranted that request might seem, with
    the young talent already on this roster and with Falvey now in the fold, its
    perhaps more palatable to do so now than at any time since 2011.Next:
    Philadelphia Phillies?| Full rankings
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