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  • 29 Jul
    TORONTO -- R.A. Dickey said the Toronto Blue Jays latest loss was all on him. "The loss can be solely hung around my neck for sure," the right-handed knuckleball pitcher said after Toronto fell 6-5 to the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday. "If I pitch better we win the game." J.J. Hardy and Danny Valencia each drove in two runs and Freddy Garcia (1-2) pitched five innings for the Orioles before a crowd of 35,915 at Rogers Centre. Garcia allowed nine hits, including a home run by Emilio Bonifacio, and limited Toronto to three runs (two earned) to gain his first win in five starts this season. It was the second win in a row for the Orioles (27-22) over the Blue Jays (20-29) and assured them of at least a split in the four-game series that ends Sunday. Hardy hit a two-run single in the first, Valencia hit a two-run homer in the third and Adam Jones hit a solo homer in the seventh against Dickey (4-6) who allowed nine hits and six runs in 6 2/3 innings. The Blue Jays trailed 3-1 after one inning and 5-2 after three. "Early in the game cost him," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "You look at some of the games that hes struggled, they put some runs up on the board early and then he finds his groove and it was the same way today. "Of course, he gave up the solo home run late but, other than that, in the middle innings he was very good. We made a run at it, we just came up short." Dickey has yet to find the form that won him the National League Cy Young Award in 2012 when he was with the New York Mets. Injuries, including back spasms, have hampered him and he cannot throw his knuckleball as hard as he did last year. "Im kind of just punching the clock right now," he said. "Im searching for it. I certainly havent felt like I did last year. There are some concrete reasons and there some reasons that I can iron out in the bullpen between starts." The roof was open on a sunny but chilly afternoon. "It was not ideal conditions but it was okay," Dickey said. "Ive pitched just fine in conditions similar to today so thats certainly not an excuse." Jose Bautista and Adam Lind each had three hits for the Blue Jays, who had 13 hits on the day and have 30 hits over their past two games, both losses. "At least we put ourselves in that position to almost go ahead and get the lead but they had a pretty good pitcher out there," Lind said. "Everybody one through nine did their job today for the most part. I guess we could have had a couple of more hits with runners in scoring position but thats all you can ask is to have the guys on base." Jim Johnson picked up his 15th save of the season, ending a string of three successive blown save opportunities. "Jimmy was going to pitch today," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He had three days off. Once again Jim Johnson closing a one-run lead on the road in the American League East against a team as hot as anybody. Thats pretty impressive." The Orioles scored three runs in the first inning. After a walk to Nick Markakis, Chris Davis doubled in a run with two out and Hardy singled in a pair. "If I could take the Markakis at-bat away in the first we probably win the game, it was a walk a four-pitch walk," Dickey said. "It was just tough to get the feel early. I grew into it a little but by that time we had already given up three runs." The Blue Jays answered with one run in their half of the first. Melky Cabrera and Bautista singled, Edwin Encarnacion hit into a double play and Lind singled in a run. Bonifacio hit his second homer of the season with one out in the second to cut Baltimores lead to 3-2. But Valencia restored the three-run lead in the third when his second homer of the series and of the season followed. Hardys two-out double. Cabreras wall-crashing catch on Jones deep drive to left field ended the top of the fourth and kept the Blue Jays within three runs. Garcias throwing error on a trickler along the first-base line by Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C., gave the Blue Jays an unearned run in the fifth. It scored Bautista who singled with one out and took third on Linds two-out single. Jones sent Dickey from the game with his ninth homer of the season, a long drive to left with two out in the seventh. The Blue Jays scored twice in the eighth after Lawrie led off with a double against reliever Steve Johnson, pinch hitter Maicer Izturis walked with two out and Munenori Kawasaki singled in a run. Cabrera greeted reliever Darren ODay with a single to cut the lead to 6-5. But Jim Johnson closed the game with a 1-2-3 ninth. "Weve got a team that can drive the ball out of the park," Jones said. "We score in a lot of unique ways." Notes: The Blue Jays called up right-hander Thad Weber from triple-A Buffalo and left-hander Sean Nolin was returned to double-A New Hampshire on option after allowing six runs in 1 1/3 innings on Friday in his major-league debut, a 10-6 loss ...Weber who was claimed off waivers from San Diego on May 19 will work out of the bullpen but could be a candidate to start next Wednesday. ....Right-hander Josh Johnson (triceps strain) threw 68 pitches with 38 strikes over four innings (one hit, one walk, no runs, three strikeouts), for Buffalo on Saturday, his second outing on medical rehabilitation assignment. He could have one more before he rejoins Toronto. ....Outfielder Rajai Davis (oblique strain) is hitting off a tee and is close to playing. ... The Orioles put right-handed reliever Pedro Strop (lower back strain) on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday and recalled right-hander Steve Johnson from triple-A Norfolk and he replaced Garcia in the sixth inning on Saturday. ... Markakis stretched his hit streak to 10 games with a single in the fourth. ...Right-hander Chad Jenkins (1-0, 3.60 earned-run average) will start for Toronto against right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 4.25 ERA) in Sundays series finale. swell Bouteille Isotherme . Argentina winger Ezequiel Lavezzi and France midfielder Blaise Matuidi scored, with star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic setting up both despite having a poor game by his high standards. Forward Eduardo gave Ajaccio the lead in the sixth minute after being set up by right winger Benjamin Andre, and the Corsican side looked comfortable in the first half, with the lively Johan Cavalli causing problems with his probing runs from midfield. Bouteille SWell Marbre . Tevez, who has had conflicts with coaches in the past, has not been called up since Sabella was named coach in 2011. Argentina boasts Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Angel Di Maria. . -- Anaheim Ducks captain and leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf has been scratched from Sunday nights game against the Vancouver Canucks because of an upper-body injury. Bouteille swell a Vendre . Galatasaray said in a statement on its website Monday that Mancini signed a three-year contract and will be paid 3.5 million euros for the upcoming season, with his salary upped to 4. swell France . Luis Suarezs double powered Liverpool to a 4-0 victory over Fulham, and Southampton easily overcame Hull 4-1 to continue the south coast clubs impressive start to the season. Liverpool and Southampton sent Chelsea down to fourth place as the west London club was held to 2-2 at home. Once upon a time, in a land Down Under, two great rivals had scheduled a duel. They were not fighting over a grand prize - the cup did not even have a name - but something far more important. Theirs was a battle for honour. Both had strong sporting prowess and both had plenty to prove.The hosts, Australia, had just returned from a humbling in Sri Lanka where they had to give up the crown they had worn for just a few months. They were ranked No.1 before that trip, buoyed by a satisfying home summer, but like the Emperor who thought he was clad in finery, their batting was actually bare.The challengers, South Africa, were embarking on their first mission since they were humiliated in India with their first away series loss in nine years. The months after that sent them reeling - a home defeat to England, an early exit from the World T20 and an off-field overhaul that put the focus on a change in team make-up through transformation. They arrived like Princess Aurora, asleep but still attractive.Still, something stirred in South Africa early on, which suggested they were ready to shake their last-season slumber. Their spearhead Dale Steyn threatened to push the oppositions Humpty Dumpty off the wall. He said that would cause the body to fall but in a cruel twist, it was his own shell that could not be put back together again.The kings other soldiers and the kings other men had to go out on their own and Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj accepted the task. A stirring comeback allowed the two stepsisters of the WACA - JP Duminy, whose career was born there eight years ago but had returned on life support, and Dean Elgar, whose career could have been stillborn there four years ago - to go to the ball. When midnight came, they had both scored hundreds and another little star was twinkling too. Temba Bavuma effected the run-out that started the second Australian collapse and led to the unlikeliest of South African wins.Australia were caught off guard but they promised not to make any changes. Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmanns noses grew as the words came out. They were proved Pinocchios when Australia made three changes for the second battle.Fee-fi-fo-fum , Philander smelled the blood of an Australian. He turned the Hobart pitch into a magic carpet, rolled back the years, and claimed his first five-for on the road since Lords 2012. Australia were all out for 85, which made for better reading than their 47 four years ago but would have felt a lot worse.All the better to rub your nose in it then, my ddear, thought Quinton de Kock and Kyle Abbott.dddddddddddd De Kock racked up a fifth consecutive score of fifty or more; Abbott claimed a nine-wicket match haul in his eighth Test over three years. South Africa had found a way to make stone soup, while Australias pot was still boiling.Too hot, too cold and nowhere near just right, explained the golden-locked Steven Smith. If there is anything in the wicket - spin, swing, seam - at the moment, we are not adapting well enough. We are not willing to grind it out.A trail of mints leading to a ball-tampering allegation shone in the moonlight but unlike Hansel and Gretel, the Australian team had no interest in following it. The ICC, however, did. It was alerted to the footage through media reports and laid a charge against the victorious stand-in captain Faf du Plessis, turning him from hero to villain. Despite carrying a previous conviction for this offense, he cried wolf and so did his cricket board.Everybody does it, they bellowed. The term artificial is not clear, they said. Ball shining is different to ball tampering, they pleaded. They huffed and puffed but they could not blow the house down. Match referee Andy Pycroft found du Plessis guilty. The punishment was not harsh enough to prevent du Plessis from playing the Adelaide Test, a fixture that could lead to a pot of gold at the end of a slightly different-coloured rainbow.South Africa were chasing a whitewash in a game that would be played with a pink ball. They would have to beat another new-look Australian side to do that. The hosts had replaced grumpy, sleepy, dopey and sneezy with driven, determined, defiant and daring. Their fresh faces saved their snow whites with a consolation win in which their Rapunzel, Usman Khawaja, let down his long hair. He made South Africas attack toil, for only the second time in the series, and scored a century to finish as the series top-scorer.South Africa wont leave too disappointed, though. After everything, they have plenty to celebrate. After du Plessis turned Cinderella, with a redeeming century, even their ugly duckling, Stephen Cook, whose technique was written off and career looked over, became a swan.In Perth and Hobart, Sleeping Beauty woke up; in Adelaide, the Emperor found a clever little tailor to begin stitching the basics of a new wardrobe and in the end, they all lived happily ever after. At least until the next series. ' ' '