Tuesday, August 22, 2017

{allcanada} Rays survive late push from Blue Jays in win


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Lucas Duda and Corey Dickerson homered in the first two innings and Chris Archer struck out 10 for the Tampa Bay Rays in a 6-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

Alex Colome got his major league-leading 37th save after giving up hits to Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce that left the potential game-tying run on third base in the ninth. The Blue Jays have lost four straight.

Duda's 23rd home run (sixth with Tampa Bay) came off rookie Chris Rowley in the first inning after Norichika Aoki had led off the game with a homer off Archer.

Dickerson hit his 23rd homer in the second, starting a three-run inning off Rowley that put the Rays ahead 4-1.

Aoki drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth after a double by Ezequiel Carrera and an RBI single by Ryan Goins.

Carrera had entered the game in the third inning after the ejection of Blue Jays centre fielder Kevin Pillar by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild.

Josh Donaldson's 21st home run came off Rays reliever Tommy Hunter in the eighth. It was Donaldson's 11th homer in 20 games.

Miguel Montero made it 6-5 with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Archer gave up three runs (one earned) an four hits while striking out 10 in six innings.

Rowley gave up four runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings in his third major league start for the Blue Jays.

Archer (9-7) and Rowley (1-1) faced each other for the second time in five days. Neither got a decision in the Blue Jays' 5-3 win on Thursday.


After his first three major league starts, left-handers are hitting only .185 against the right-handed Rowley. However, the five hits include three triples and two home runs.


Blue Jays: C Russell Martin (left oblique) missed his 10th game and is not close to returning, according to manager John Gibbons.

Rays: Of the RHPs on the disabled list, Alex Cobb (turf toe) will start Thursday's game; Jake Faria (abdominal strain) will resume throwing on Thursday; Matt Andriese (hip stress reaction) will make a rehab start Wednesday for Triple-A Durham.


RHP Marcus Stroman (11-6) will try to end Toronto's four-game losing streak Wednesday night against RHP Auston Pruitt (6-4).

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{allcanada} Radwanska downs Genie Bouchard in second round at Connecticut Open


NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Canada's Eugenie Bouchard was eliminated from the Connecticut Open on Tuesday night, falling in straight sets to top seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the second round.

Radwanska, the World No. 10, downed the 23-year-old from Westmount, Que., 6-3, 7-5 in one hour 45 minutes.

Radwanka converted on 5 of 12 break points while Bouchard was 2 for 6.

Bouchard, ranked 74th in the world, fought back in the second set after being broken to go down 5-3. She broke Radwanska right back and held serve to tie the game 5-all.

Radwanska held serve in the next game, then broke Bouchard for the victory. Bouchard fought off two match points but was broken while serving to force a tiebreak.

Bouchard is winless in four matches against Radwanska in her career.

Also advancing were Australia's Daria Gavrilova, who needed 2 hours, 12 minutes to defeat Timea Babos of Hungary 7-5, 7-6 (6), and Elise Mertens of Belgium, a straight-sets winner over Russia's Daria Kasatkina.

The Connecticut Open is the final WTA Premier tournament before the U.S. Open, which begins next Monday.

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{allcanada} Montero plays former team as Whitecaps host Sounders


VANCOUVER — Fredy Montero didn't celebrate his two-goal performance — at least on the field — the last time he suited up against the Seattle Sounders.

The Whitecaps striker doesn't plan on changing a thing when Vancouver hosts his former club for a second time this season on Wednesday night.

Montero, who scored 47 times in 119 regular-season appearances for Seattle from 2009 to 2012, bagged two goals against the Sounders in Vancouver's 2-1 victory back in April. But while his teammates mobbed him after each goal in the derby game against a bitter rival, the Colombian kept his emotions in check.

"It's displaying loyalty," Montero explained Tuesday after training. "It's the way soccer players show respect.

"With the opportunity (Seattle) gave me to play there, I want to show respect."

On loan to Vancouver from his club in China this season, the designated player has scored 10 times in Major League Soccer in 2017, including a coolly taken penalty in Saturday's 2-1 home victory over the Houston Dynamo.

And while the soft-spoken Montero doesn't show his cards very often, Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said it's clear his star forward is amped up by another visit from the Sounders.

"He's not stopped smiling the last few days," said the Welshman. "You need your top players to perform in the big games. It's certainly a big game."

Montero and Yordy Reyna — an off-season addition who missed the first half of the year with a broken foot — have already developed good chemistry at the top of Vancouver's formation in limited time together. An attacking midfielder Robinson has described as a "rash" because he's all over the field, Reyna is helping to both drive the play and support Montero.

"Yordy's making a huge impact in the team because he's a player that is always asking for the ball," said Montero, who also set up Reyna's stunning goal from 20 yards out against Houston. "There is always a connection between him and me.

"We need to make sure he has the ball as many times as we can."

Vancouver (10-9-4) currently occupies the sixth and final playoff spot in the crowded Western Conference with 34 points, one better than the San Jose Earthquakes. The Whitecaps also have at least two games in hand on four of the five teams above them in the table, including Seattle (11-7-7), which sits tied for first with Sporting Kansas City on 40 points.

"We have a huge opportunity in front of us," said Vancouver defender Jordan Harvey. "There's a lot of parity."

Vancouver started a run of six out of seven games at home with Saturday's victory over the Dynamo, who entered that match in a four-way deadlock for first in the West with Seattle, Kansas City and the Portland Timbers.

Both the Whitecaps and Sounders are in the middle of a stretch of three games in eight days, with Vancouver set to visit Orlando City SC on Saturday, and Seattle welcoming the Portland Timbers on Sunday prior to the start of the international break from Aug. 28 to Sept. 5.

Robinson said he's gone back and forth a few times since the Houston match on his lineup for Wednesday, but it looked and sounded like he will probably only make a couple changes before shuffling the deck this weekend.

Seattle comes to Vancouver red-hot, having gone 9-2-3 over the last 14 games after winning just two of its first 11 outings (2-5-4) — somewhat mirroring the tough start to 2016 that eventually ended with the franchise winning its first MLS Cup.

Unbeaten in nine straight (6-0-3) dating back to the middle of June, the Sounders have won three in a row and six of seven, including Sunday's 2-1 home victory over Minnesota United, a result that saw Seattle concede a goal for the first time in four matches.

"They've caught fire at the right time," said Robinson. "It's going to be a great test for us."

Notes: Seattle is 2-0-2 on the road over its last four games after starting the season with a 1-6-2 mark. ... The Whitecaps visit the Sounders on Sept. 27 in their third and final regular-season meeting. ... Portland currently leads the standings for the Cascadia Cup with seven points from four matches. The regional tournament, created by supporters of the Timbers, Sounders and Whitecaps, counts results of the nine MLS games played between the clubs. Seattle has four points from three games, while Vancouver has three points from three games.

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{allcanada} After win in Chicago, TFC looks to avoid letdown


Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley is calling a midweek game against a middling Major League Soccer opponent the "biggest of the year" for his league-leading club.

Sure, a Wednesday home match against the struggling Philadelphia Union might not have the same sizzle as Toronto's big 3-1 road win over Eastern Conference rival Chicago over the weekend. But Bradley recognizes the importance of avoiding a letdown after a statement victory, especially when facing a team desperate for points.

"We're not looking past anything," Bradley told reporters Tuesday after training. "Tomorrow is the biggest game we've played all year, in terms of following up a big win with an even bigger one.

"You're getting to the time of year where teams who are hovering around the playoff line, or just below it, they're dangerous."

Philadelphia enters Wednesday's game at BMO Field six points behind sixth-place Montreal for the final playoff spot in the East with one more game played than the Impact. The Union nearly posted a win at San Jose last Saturday, but had to settle for a 2-2 draw after the Earthquakes scored on a penalty in stoppage time.

"We'll need to expect a big response," Bradley said. "Regardless of form, regardless of what has gone on, they find a way to compete at a high level."

Toronto hasn't lost since a 3-1 setback in Dallas on July 1.

The team's seven-game unbeaten run includes a 4-0 thrashing of second-place New York City FC and the recent road win over third-place Chicago. But the streak also includes disappointing draws against Colorado and Washington, two of the weakest teams in MLS.

Toronto head coach Greg Vanney said the players can't let up as they chase their first ever Supporters' Shield, given to the top MLS team in the regular season.

"It's important for us that this is a vital match for us in terms of maintaining our Supporters' Shield position, trying to stay unbeaten at home and a lot of the other factors that are kind of swirling around," Vanney told reporters after training.

"It's important that we come with the right intensity and attitude for this match."

Vanney said defender Steven Beitashour is progressing but still working on match fitness. Beitashour returned to action as a substitute against Chicago after recovering from a lacerated pancreas he suffered in June.

"He's good," Vanney said. "I don't know if he's full 90 (minutes), we'll have to see when we get him to that point, but he's definitely progressing. It's all about match fitness for him now."

Notes: Toronto has a 9-0-3 home record. ... The Reds are the only MLS team with a winning road record (5-3-5).

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