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#1 12-08-2017 12:18:11

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CHICAGO -- There it was, another big at-bat staring at Addison Russell

CHICAGO -- There it was, another big at-bat staring at Addison Russell. And once again, the young star delivered.Russell hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, and three relievers combined for five perfect innings to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night.Hes growing up, manager Joe Maddon said. As a major league baseball player, his confidence could not be higher.The Cubs spoiled a shaky Jeff Samardzijas return to Wrigley Field and started September on a winning note after going 22-6 to match the 1932 team for the best August in franchise history.The major league leaders also moved a season-high 39 games over .500 and a jaw-dropping 15 1/2 games ahead of St. Louis in the NL Central -- their largest lead in the standings since the 1907 team finished 17 games ahead of Pittsburgh, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.Russells bloop single off Cory Gearrin gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead. Dexter Fowler had two singles and scored two runs.Kris Bryant added an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, matching a career high. And the Cubs rallied behind a dominant bullpen and another big hit by Russell.I kind of embrace those situations, he said. In that situation, I didnt try to do too much. I just wanted to see a pitch, really, and just try to go about my approach the same way.The 22-year-old Russells 88 RBI are tops among National League shortstops. He is 8 for 18 and has driven in 23 runs with the bases loaded. On top of that, he is playing a Gold Glove-level defense.His go-ahead hit wiped out a 4-3 deficit and capped a rally that began when Hunter Strickland (3-2) gave up a leadoff single to Fowler and walked Bryant after two close pitches were called balls.Will Smith walked Ben Zobrist with one out to load the bases before retiring Jason Heyward on a pop fly. But Russell then drove in Fowler and Bryant with a bloop single to left.It obviously felt like I had a good game plan, Gearrin said. Made two good pitches and broke his bat and he just found a hole. Its just frustrating because you want to get the result no matter what. At the same time as a pitcher, you can only do so much.That made a winner of Joe Smith (2-4), who worked two innings after returning from a strained left hamstring.Carl Edwards Jr. worked the ninth for his first career save with Aroldis Chapman getting the night off after pitching in the previous three games. And the Cubs came away with the win on a cool and windy night in which both starting pitchers lasted just four innings.SHAKY STARTSSamardzija gave up three runs and five hits, walked three and threw 87 pitches in his second start against Chicago and first as a visitor at Wrigley Field. The right-hander played for the Cubs from 2008 until he was traded to Oakland during the 2014 season in the deal for Russell.Chicagos Mike Montgomery gave up four runs -- three earned -- and three hits, including a long two-run homer to Hunter Pence in the first.TRANSACTIONSThe Giants reinstated LHP Josh Osich and OF Mac Williamson from the DL and recalled LHP Ty Blach, LHP Matt Reynolds, LHP Steven Okert and INF Kelby Tomlinson from Triple-A.TRAINERS ROOMGiants: RHP Matt Cain (lower back strain) is expected to come off the DL and head to the bullpen rather than the rotation. Manager Bruce Bochy said the three-time All-Star, who has struggled with injuries in recent seasons, was all for the assignment. RHP Albert Suarez will start Friday.Cubs: RHP John Lackey (strained right shoulder) will likely return to the rotation this weekend. Thursdays throwing session went well, and assuming no setbacks, the veteran will start Sunday. ... RHP Hector Rondon (strained right triceps) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa on Saturday and likely make another appearance for the minor league club before returning. ... Pedro Strop (torn meniscus in left knee) tweaked his right groin in a workout on Wednesday. The Cubs expect him to miss about six weeks after initially projecting him to be out four to six following his injury on Aug. 10.UP NEXTThe Cubs send LHP Jon Lester (14-4, 2.70 ERA), unbeaten in his past six starts, to the mound while Suarez (3-2, 4.35) makes his eighth start for San Francisco. Cheap NBA Jerseys . Three came down to the fourth quarter while quarterbacks continued to shine in all four games; so important to the overall quality of the game. Cheap Swingman Wizards Jerseys . R.J. Umberger scored twice to lead the Blue Jackets to a franchise-record for consecutive wins with a 5-3 victory Tuesday night over the Los Angeles Kings. http://www.cheapwizardsjerseys.com/ . Mickelson barely made the cut but had the best round of the day with nine birdies and an eagle coupled with two bogeys to sit two shots behind leader Craig Lee of Scotland. Lee shot a 69 for a 12-under 204 total. "I just love the fact I am in contention and have an opportunity in my first tournament of the year here in Abu Dhabi," Mickelson said. Cheap Washington Wizards Jerseys . Radwanska, making her debut in the Seoul tournament, hit eight aces in a match that lasted 1 hour, 4 minutes at Olympic Park tennis stadium. "It was definitely a very good match -- I was playing really good tennis," Radwanska said. Wholesale Wizards Jerseys ., and Rudi Swiegers of Kipling, Sask., took sixth spot on Saturday in pairs at the NHK Trophy ISU Grand Prix figure skating competition. NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Pelicans were losing, as they did more often than not last season, and Anthony Davis wasnt happy about it.Davis had already been relegated to a suit and the sidelines thanks to a season-ending knee procedure and thus was unable to help save the day. Yet when a timeout was called, Tim Frazier, a point guard who had just been plucked out of the D-League to help plug the teams many holes, still looked to the superstar expectantly.AD, are you gonna say something? Frazier, by the expression on his face, seemed to be asking Davis.It caught the 23-year-old All-Star by surprise.I was like, Oh, s--- Davis said at Fridays media day, with Frazier nodding in the back of the room in agreement. I wasnt expecting to say nothin. But it shows you these guys look up and look forward to me saying stuff, because they want to follow, they want to be a part of something special. Ill always remember that. That was eye-opening.With Chris Paul long gone by the time he was drafted in 2012 after his freshman season at Kentucky, Davis was immediately anointed the face of the franchise. The instantaneous burden, he admits now, was a difficult adjustment.I think when I first got here, guys were like, All right. Youre the guy, Davis said. Im only 19 years old as a rookie. It was tough.Even last season, Davis, the youngest player on the roster during his first four seasons in New Orleans, would often lean on Kendrick Perkins, a 13-year veteran with title experience who was signed in large part to serve as the budding stars on-court mentor.Now entering his fifth season -- and facing the very real possibility of being left outside of the postseason field for a fourth time -- teammates and Pelicans brass agree Davis is embracing the role as team leader like never before.I think he realizes more so than anything now that this is his team and that hes the leader of this team, New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. All the players accept him as that. I told everyone last year that youre talking about a 23-year-old kid that you want to be the leader of the team, but hes grown so much over the summer. I think that hes more of a vocal leader now. We have conversations all the time, and we text back and forth all the time this summer, from a standpoint of, leadership-wise, what he should do and how he should advance in that area right there, especially with the new guys.Davis said he gave his input over the summer on potential free agents when asked, but he really sprang into action once the retooled roster had officially been assembled, including helping to set up unofficial team workouts in Los Angeles.For being as young as he is, its crazy to see him reach out as much as he does, said Solomon Hill, who signed a four-year, $48 million deal in the offseason. Like when we were in L.A., he had things set up. He had things for us available to do. Even here now, hes getting the team together. Thats something different for being a young guy. You see that from most older guys in the league that say something like, Coach told me to do this.ddddddddddddA flair for logistics and management will come in handy this season. While Pelicans general manager Dell Demps reiterated his satisfaction with the teams free-agent face lift -- which focused primarily on swapping high-profile scorers such as?Ryan Anderson for self-made grinders like Hill to finally fix a defense that has been in the bottom 10 throughout Davis tenure -- expectations were strikingly tempered. Unlike last years media day, when New Orleans strutted into training camp as the NBAs new chic outpost, the message this time centered around an attention to detail.Demps, consciously or not, even evoked Sam Hinkie by turning to the deposed?Philadelphia 76ers?GMs now-infamous refrain.All teams in the Western Conference right now are setting goals to get to the playoffs, Demps said. I think right now what were going to focus on is the process. And that process is our daily work, focusing on our defense, making sure were doing the right things. Were playing hard, were playing smart and were playing the right way.Gentrys list of team priorities -- the top three, in order: playing blue-collar desperate; being the best-conditioned team; and playing unselfishly -- had a decidedly back-to-basics feel. Davis admitted a need to find ways to overcome a lack of talent.Its not about having the most talent -- this guy averaged this or that, Davis said. Its about what he can bring to the table to help our team. And all these guys bring something to the table. We want to be kind of like how Boston was last year: not having a lot of talent, but them guys play hard. Thats how they were able to win games. Thats what we want. Thats what we brought it and thats what we look forward to.With the Pelicans pushing the process to the forefront, it is an encouraging sign for a franchise that in the past has prioritized quick results. But the teams immediate future, and whether or not this current regime gets to reap the benefits of a long-term approach, likely rests not on playing like the?Celtics, a team celebrated for its constructive ecosystem, but what the Celtics have worked?tireless over the past years to acquire: a superstar in the prime of his career.Such a predicament is a tall task, even for a 6-foot-10 condor who can drain jump shots. But at least from the outset, Davis, who is locked in for at least four more seasons in New Orleans, appears to be fully embracing all the expectations and burdens that come with his station.I love it here, Davis said. I dont plan on leaving. I guess I fit into that old-school category where I try to win it here where I start my career. Thats always been a goal of mine. Ive never thought about leaving here. People have their own opinions and their own decisions and reasons why theyre making decisions. And I have mine. I love it here. 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12-08-2017 12:18:11




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