Monday, September 26, 2016

{allcanada} Yankees rally to drop Jays in wild series finale


TORONTO — There was bad blood at the beginning. And pure drama at the end as the New York Yankees outdid the Toronto Blue Jays in a battle of ninth-inning rallies Monday.

Trailing 3-1 after seven innings, the Yankees scored one run in the eighth and five in the ninth, then hung on to nip the Jays' attempted comeback at two runs after Toronto loaded the bases with no outs.

The final count? New York won 7-5 to avoid a four-game sweep and leave Toronto with a little dignity after being outscored 16-3 in the first three contests.

There were also three hit batsmen, four ejections and the benches emptied twice. Not to mention 17 hits, three errors, 16 left on base and 13 pitchers used in a three-hour 22-minute baseball smorgasbord.

Even a mini-bat flip, this time not from Jays slugger Jose Bautista but from Yankee veteran Mark Teixeira who started the ninth-inning rally with a homer off Jason Grilli.

And afterwards there was a healthy sample of baseball-speak as the two sides tried to explain the beanball shenanigans in the second inning.

"I don't know, we played a game of baseball, we got into a scuffle. They came back, we made a push," Toronto catcher Russell Martin said pithily.

Martin skipped the part when he looked like he wanted to punch fellow catcher Gary Sanchez's ticket after teammate Justin Smoak became the third hit batsmen and the benches cleared with purpose.

Asked about getting into something with Sanchez, Martin said: "I think everybody was getting into something."

The bad blood started in the first inning when New York starter Luis Severino hit Josh Donaldson on the elbow pad before a sellout crowd of 44,532. Then Toronto starter J.A. Happ took aim at Chase Headley, the first Yankee to go to the plate in the second. It took Happ two pitches to make contact with Headley — he just missed on the first attempt, throwing behind Headley.

Both benches and bullpens emptied but there was no real venom. The umpires cleared the field and the game continued.

Severino, a 22-year-old having a difficult season, raised the stakes by throwing inside at Smoak to open the bottom of the second. He missed inside but hit Smoak on the leg with the second pitch. That prompted a second, more serious pitch invasion that saw a rolling maul of players move across the Rogers Centre infield.

Toronto manager John Gibbons said later that his players were tired of rivals taking liberties.

"Some teams have been taking potshots at us all year long and some guys just got tired of it," he said.

Said Headley: "If they feel like they need to protect their guys, I respect that. But if you do that, you're accepting the consequences."

The Yankees third baseman went further, suggesting the Jays reap what they sow.

"Listen, (the Jays) are the kings of fun. The bat flip, the whole guys yelling at players. (Marcus) Stroman was screaming at our guys when he was pitching, yelling at guys to get off the effing field when he struck somebody out. You've got to take some of your medicine. They certainly have no shortage of emotion and, if you play like that, you've got to expect to get some it back.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and bench coach Rob Thomson were also thrown out.

The physical toll of the evening has yet to be counted. Toronto reliever Joaquin Benoit limped off the field with a calf injury and second baseman Devon Travis was pulled in the sixth. There was no update on either or whether the Travis shoulder injury was linked to the brouhaha.

Severino's first inning was a rocky 32-pitch effort. His second lasted just two pitches.

Said Severino: "I wasn't trying to hit nobody. I wasn't having my control in the first inning. I just tried throwing a good pitch inside and it slipped from my hand."

Said Happ: "They took exception. We did as well ... I wasn't trying to hit Chase but it happened. They can say what they want to say. Eventually cooler heads prevailed but it took a minute there."

Girardi did not seem to mind that Happ threw at his player, given Donaldson was hit. He was more upset that Happ tried twice — and there was no warning from the umpire after the first attempt.

"You throw it behind the guy and you miss, I mean, he's got to be tossed. That's terrible, it's terrible," he said.

Both Martin and Happ expressed surprise that Severino continued to up the ante by hitting Smoak.

As for the baseball, Teixeira admired his one-out solo homer deep to right field off Grilli (7-6), who got the nod with closer Roberto Osuna needing rest, and then flipped the bat gently away.

"We were just having fun," he said with a grin afterwards.

After Didi Gregorius singled, Aaron Hicks went deep to right for a 5-3 lead. Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI single and Sanchez's sacrifice fly off Danny Barnes added to the Jays' pain as the Yankees sent eight men to the plate.

Trailing 7-3, the Jays went to work in their half of the ninth..

With Tommy Layne taking over for Dellin Betances with the bases loaded, Donaldson flied out. Edwin Encarnacion then walked to bring in a run. Pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro's bloop to centre-field made it 7-5. But it was too little too late.

Adam Warren (7-4) got the win and Layne the save, his first.

Recent form may have played a role in the bad blood. The Jays (86-70) are on the rise in the push to the playoffs while the Yankees (80-76) have been sinking fast and had the worst of the first three games of the series.

Lost in the kerfuffle and late-inning collapse was a fine 7 1/3-inning outing by Happ, who was bidding to become just the fourth Blue Jay to win 21 games, joining Roy Halladay (22 in 2008), Roger Clemens (21 in 1997) and Jack Morris (21 in 1992). He was also trying to surpass David Wells (20 in 2000) for most wins by a Toronto left-hander.

Going into Monday's game, the Jays were 23-7 in Happ's starts this season.

Toronto trails idle Boston by six game in the American League East but holds a one-game the top wild-card berth by one-game edge over the Orioles. The Tigers, who lost 7-4 to Cleveland, are two games back of the Orioles.

Baltimore had the day off before starting a three-game series in Toronto on Tuesday.

Monday's contest, which snapped New York's eight-game losing streak in Toronto, marked the close of the Yankees' 12-day, 11-game road trip. They finished their final away swing of the season at 3-8.

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{allcanada} Oilers beat Flames to win pre-season debut at new arena


EDMONTON — Tyler Pitlick had a goal and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers won their pre-season debut at the new Rogers Place Arena, coming away with a 4-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Flames in a split-squad game on Monday.

Iiro Pakarinen, Ryan Vesce and Kris Versteeg also scored for the Oilers.

Kenney Morrison and Freddie Hamilton replied with the goals for the Flames.

Edmonton got the first goal in its new building, as Pakarinen banked home a rebound during a scramble in front of Flames starting goalie Jon Gilles.

Calgary countered with seven minutes remaining in the opening frame when Mark Jankowski sprung Morrison for a partial breakaway and beat Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot high to the glove side.

The Flames went up 2-1 not long afterwards as a Hamilton shot banked off Edmonton defender Oscar Klefbom and dribbled past Talbot.

Eetu Laurikainen came in to replace Talbot in the Edmonton net for the third period.

The Oilers tied the game three-and-a-half minutes into the third on the power play as late training camp invite Vesce tipped a Matthew Benning shot past Gilles.

Edmonton grabbed the lead six minutes into the third as Pitlick swooped in to deposit the rebound of Taylor Beck's backhander on the doorstep.

Midway through the third, Oilers college free-agent signing Drake Caggiula was awarded a penalty shot, but shot the puck over the net.

The Oilers made it 4-2 as Pitlick made a nice feed to set up NHL veteran and PTO camp invitee Versteeg.

Notes: The Oilers also beat the Flames 2-1 in Calgary in another split-squad game Monday. … Edmonton's official opener for regular season play is on October 12th against the Flames. … Oilers centres Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will join the team for camp on Tuesday. They took a few days off after suiting up for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey.

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{allcanada} Web streaming service Shomi shutting down


Shomi is planning its end credits on Nov. 30 after only two years in operation.

The web streaming service, which was co-owned by Rogers and Shaw, attributed the decision to a challenging online video marketplace.

It's an online world where, at the end of the day, you just have to be creating your own content, like Netflix has found a way to do. Shomi wasn't doing that, so the future, frankly, was bleak.

This could, however, open the door for Amazon coming to Canada.

"We're really grateful to Canadians who enthusiastically invited us into their living rooms and took us with them on their phones, tablets and laptops," said David Asch, Shomi's senior vice-president and general manager, in a statement.

"The business climate and online video marketplace have changed markedly in the last few years. Combined with the fact that the business is more challenging to operate than we expected, we've decided to wind down our operations. We're proud of the great service we created and the role we played in the evolution of Canada's video landscape."

Shomi was made available to all Canadians — regardless of which Internet provider they used — last year.

"The beta has been a huge success and we're excited to now bring it to all Canadians," Asch said at the time. "We've taken the time to work out the kinks so members can enjoy a great user interface and viewing experience."

The term "huge success" obviously was overstating it. If it had been a huge success, Shomi would not be shutting down.

Bell's CraveTV went "direct to consumer" on Jan. 1 of this year. That service is facing many of the same challenges as Shomi, but CraveTV is bolstered by a lot of content deals for programming that airs on Bell's own premium channels, such as HBO or The Movie Network, which airs programming from Showtime.

Shomi had an exclusive deal to air Amazon's Transparent, which is not available legally anywhere else in Canada. But primarily Shomi was stacked with past seasons of shows that already had been available in Canada on traditional TV. And that alone just isn't enough, even if we're talking about shows as critically acclaimed as Jane the Virgin or American Horror Story.

Plus, after Shaw sold its TV channels to Corus, Shaw's enthusiasm for the Shomi project obviously waned.

There had been rumours at one point that Shomi might try to seek a U.S. streaming partner, but if those whispers were true, they obviously have not amounted to anything at this point.

Streaming is going to have to find a way in Canada. It's the way of the future, so everyone says. But as often is the case in media, making a go of it financially north of the border is complex, to say the least.

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{allcanada} Team Europe looks to get jump on upset bid in Game 1



Air Canada Centre, Toronto

Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports)


What's at stake:

Control of the best-of-3 final. If Team Canada wins, it will need one victory in the final two games in Toronto to repeat as World Cup champion. However, if Team Europe finds a way to win, all the pressure will shift to Team Canada, which is a heavy, heavy favorite.


Team Europe:

The loss of Marian Gaborik is a huge blow. Gaborik, who had two goals and led Team Europe with 13 shots on goal in the tournament, injured his foot during the 3-2 overtime win against Team Sweden in the semifinal Sunday. The Los Angeles Kings forward will miss eight weeks, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told the Los Angeles Times. Left wing Mikkel Boedker is expected to take Gaborik's place in the lineup. Boedkker has not played in the tournament. Defenseman Roman Josi has played a team-high 105:43 in four games, an average of 26:35 per game. Forward Mats Zuccarello's four points (one goal, three assists) lead Team Europe.


Team Canada:

Since the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, there have been few challengers to Canada's supremacy on the international stage. It won gold at Vancouver and then repeated the feat four years later in Sochi with a dominating run that has seen few equals. Now, Team Canada is two wins from winning the World Cup, and few, if any, observers expect them to fail. "Guys are used to this stage, used to the pressure," said fourth-line forward Joe Thornton. "Canada, in general, has had incredible results. So, nobody is shocked we're here and in this situation. Everyone feels comfortable in this situation." Captain Sidney Crosby's seven points (three goals, four assists) lead the tournament, but Team Canada is very deep when it comes to scoring. It has seven players with four or more points; no other team had more than two, and Team Europe has one (Zuccarello).


Keep your eye on:

The Team Canada forecheck. If Team Canada is aggressive in its puck pursuit, it could cause problems for the Team Europe defense. In the semifinal, Team Sweden was rarely aggressive in chasing the puck, but when it did, Team Europe had difficulty clearing the defensive zone and committed several turnovers that turned into sustained zone time for Team Sweden.


They said it:

"Obviously, we've got to prepare for a team that's playing very well. They're here for a reason. They're playing at the top of their game. Everyone there is committed. They're playing with a lot of pride, and we're going to have to do the right things to succeed. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be a tough week for us and our work is cut out for us." -- Team Canada defenseman Shea Weber on the challenge presented by Team Europe.

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