Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Smoak's 2 HR, go-ahead slam in 8th rally Jays past Yanks 7-4

After fouling off a pair of curveballs, Justin Smoak figured he'd get a fastball from David Robertson.
Smoak was right.
The switch-hitter smacked a two-run homer in the seventh inning and a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth to rally the Toronto Blue Jays past the New York Yankees 7-4 on Sunday.
Smoak connected against reliever Tommy Kahnle in the seventh, then brought the crowd of 29,091 to its feet with his second career slam, a drive off Robertson (0-1).
"He's one of the best in the game so you know it's going to be a tough at-bat," Smoak said of his nine-pitch encounter with Robertson. "I just tried to battle and battle and battle."
Smoak went 3 for 4 with a walk and six RBIs in his seventh career multihomer game as Toronto gained a series split, winning the final two games.
"You can't do any better than he did today," manager John Gibbons said.
Robertson was left frustrated at his failure to finish off Smoak.
"I threw everything I had at him," Robertson said. "He just won today."
Toronto has hit at least one home run in each of its first four games. It's the first time the Blue Jays have done that since 2011, when they homered in five straight to begin the season.
With Toronto trailing 4-3, Russell Martin hit a leadoff single against Robertson and went to third on a one-out double by Aledmys Diaz. One out later, New York chose to intentionally walk Josh Donaldson to load the bases for Smoak, who worked the count full before his shot to center field.
"I'm glad I was thinking the way I was thinking," Smoak said of his decision to look for the fastball.
Smoak's other slam also came against the Yankees. In 2015, he went deep off Ivan Nova to become the first Blue Jays player to hit a grand slam in the Bronx - Toronto joined the majors in 1977.
Tyler Clippard (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning and Seung Hwan Oh finished for his first save.
Toronto's comeback denied New York its first series victory north of the border since August 2015. The Yankees have lost six of their past eight series in Toronto, splitting the other two.
Brandon Drury hit a two-run homer for the Yankees, and Giancarlo Stanton walked three times in his first career start in left field.
Drury connected off right-hander Marcus Stroman, who allowed four runs and three hits in five innings. Stroman, limited to two starts in spring training because of a sore shoulder, walked three and struck out eight.
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge threw out Martin at home plate in the second as he tried to score from second base on Gift Ngoepe's ground single to right field.
"You've got to do something when you're not hitting," joked Judge, who went 1 for 3 with two walks, raising his batting average to .200.
Devon Travis followed with an RBI single as the Blue Jays opened the scoring for the second straight game.
New York answered with four two-out runs in the third. Stanton walked and scored on Didi Gregorius' double. Neil Walker had an RBI single and Drury followed with a drive to left, his first.
"Really good at-bats in that inning," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "They held us down after that."
Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray allowed one run and seven hits in four-plus innings. He walked three and struck out eight, including four straight during one stretch.
"It was a grind for Sonny today," Boone said.
LONG ARM OF THE JUDGE
"I love getting throws from Judge because there's a lot of true backspin to the ball so it's easier to pick them," Yankees catcher Austin Romine said. "They're not having two-seamer tail or something like that, hitting the ground and darting a different way. He really gets behind the ball and gives you a pretty good chance to pick the ball. It was a great throw.
ON THE LEVEL
Toronto reached .500 for the first time since May 29, 2016, when it was 26-26.
TRAINER'S ROOM
Yankees: RHP Adam Warren (right ankle) played catch before the game. Warren left Saturday's game after he was struck by a comebacker. Boone said Warren's condition was better than expected. "We're pretty optimistic about him," Boone said. ... Boone said he isn't certain OF Jacoby Ellsbury (strained right oblique) will be ready to come off the disabled list when he is eligible Thursday.
Blue Jays: Donaldson (dead arm) made his third straight start at DH instead of 3B. An hour after the game ended, Donaldson played catch on the outfield turf, making throws from right-center to the left field foul line, before fielding grounders and making throws to first base.
UP NEXT
Yankees: LHP Jordan Montgomery starts New York's home opener Monday afternoon against the Rays, who had not announced a starter for their "bullpen day." Tampa Bay is using a four-man rotation and plans to turn to its bullpen to get through a game every fifth day.
Blue Jays: LHP Jaime Garcia makes his first start for Toronto as the Blue Jays begin a three-game series Monday night against the White Sox. RHP Miguel Gonzalez goes for Chicago.

DeJong's 1st multihomer game leads Cards over Mets 5-1

Paul DeJong made the right decision to give up the scalpel, trumpet and piano to concentrate on baseball.
A rising star on the St. Louis Cardinals, the 24-year-old shortstop had the first multihomer game of his young big league career Sunday and helped the St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Mets 5-1 to avoid an opening three-game sweep.
DeJong hit .285 with 25 home runs and 65 RBIs as a rookie last year, earning a $26 million, six-year contract. He had 13 homers at Triple-A Memphis before his major league debut on May 28 - when he homered off Colorado closer Greg Holland on his first big league swing.
"I know that I can consistently hit for power, whether it's doubles or homers," DeJong said.
A 2015 graduate of Illinois State who majored in biochemistry and pre-medicine, he was selected by the Cardinals in the fourth round of that year's amateur draft. During spring training last month, when the Cardinals gave him the big contract, he attended several social events of the Palm Beach Symphony - not a regular nightlife stop of most big leaguers.
"I like all types of music, from Metallica to Chopin," he said.
His younger brother Matthew is in a master's program for piano at Florida State.
"He was always more devoted to music than I was," DeJong said. "I played the piano, as well. Also the trumpet. But I stopped sophomore year in high school for the trumpet and a little earlier than that for the piano."
DeJong sent a fastball from Steven Matz off the facing of the left-field second deck in the second inning and drove Jacob Rhame's slider off an orange M&M advertisement just over the left-field wall in the eighth for his second solo homer.
"He's dangerous," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I won't put a ceiling on him."
DeJong was 9 for 12 in a series against the Mets just before last year's All-Star break and is 15 for 41 versus New York with five doubles, six homers and eight RBIs overall. He is 3 for 3 with a pair of homers against Matz.
"I had two strikes on him and I left the ball right over the plate," the lefty said.
Luke Weaver (1-0), a rare starting pitcher with a single-digit uniform number (7), struggled through a 27-pitch first inning in his first outing and gave up Amed Rosario's tying single in the second. The 24-year-old right-hander, who last summer became the first Cardinals rookie to win seven straight starts since Ted Wilks in 1944, wound up allowing five hits in five innings, four of them singles.
"A grind is like the perfect definition of what it was," Weaver said.
Marcell Ozuna broke out of an 0-for-9 start with three hits, including an RBI double in the third and a run-scoring single in the fifth.Yadier Molina hit a leadoff homer in the fourth for the Cardinals, outscored 15-6 in the first two games.
After solid starts by Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, Matz (0-1) tried to put behind an injury-decimated sophomore season in which the lefty slumped to a 2-7 record. He struggled with his control and was up to 51 pitches after two innings and 73 after three. He lasted five innings, giving up three runs and four hits, as the Mets kept up their terrible trend of last year, when they were 16-36 in series finales.
"All three runs I gave up I had two strikes on the guys," Matz said. "I was leaving the ball up a lot."
In the Cardinals clubhouse after the game, there was loud, thumping music. DeJong hasn't grooved to classical music yet for batting practice.
"I've thought about it. I just haven't pulled the trigger. I don't bring my headphones with me, usually," he said. "I don't like to get too far in my head with music. Sometimes that can happen."
SLUMPING START
Cardinals leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts before walking in the eighth inning and has started the season 0 for 13 with six Ks.
TRADING PLACES
St. Louis obtained OF Johan Mieses from the Los Angeles Dodgers for INF Breyvic Valera, who had been designated for assignment.
HONORING RUSTY
New York will wear a patch on the right sleeves of its jerseys for the rest of the season in honor of former Mets star Rusty Staub, who died Thursday. Sunday would have been his 74th birthday.
TRAINER'S ROOM
Mets: CF Brandon Nimmo was scratched after being up most of the night with flu-like symptoms. ... RHP Anthony Swarzak was to be evaluated after leaving Saturday's game with a sore left oblique. ... LHP Jason Vargas (broken right hand) threw a bullpen Saturday and is to throw a simulated game Monday.
UP NEXT
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas makes his first big league appearance since Aug. 25, 2014, when he starts Monday at Milwaukee. He spent the past three seasons with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan's Central League.
Mets: RHP Matt Harvey, coming off a 5-7 season, makes his 2018 debut Monday against visiting Philadelphia and Ben Lively.

Berrios tosses 3-hitter as Twins beat Orioles 7-0

One after another, the Minnesota Twins' starting pitchers kept getting better and better against the Baltimore Orioles.
Jose Berrios threw a three-hitter in Minnesota's 7-0 victory Sunday, capping a season-opening series in which Twins starters combined for 21 innings of five-hit ball.
After Jake Odorizzi blanked Baltimore for six innings in the opener, Kyle Gibson tossed six no-hit innings before Berrios rang up his first career complete game.
"Just a lot of positives, getting off to a start like that," manager Paul Molitor said. "Our starters haven't given up a run yet."
Baltimore emerged from the three-game series with a 1-2 record and a .117 team batting average.
"When you see that many guys having trouble, you know it's the pitching," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Baltimore's potentially potent lineup has thus far produced only 11 hits in 29 innings. Orioles slugger Chris Davis, batting leadoff, is 0 for 12 - the worst start of his career - and All-Star second baseman Jonathan Schoop is 1 for 13.
Only one batter reached against Berrios over the first eight innings - rookie catcher Chance Sisco, whose third-inning double whisked by the raised glove of left fielder Eddie Rosario at the wall.
Berrios then retired 17 straight before Sisco bunted down the third-base line against the shift for a one-out single in the ninth. A walk and a single loaded the bases before Berrios retired Schoop and Adam Jones.
Berrios (1-0) struck out six and walked one in his 40th career start. He threw 107 pitches.
"I felt comfortable all day long," the 23-year-old said. "I wanted to go out there and keep competing, and that was the end result."
Brian Dozier homered on the game's first pitch to launch a four-run first inning and added a solo shot in the sixth for his eighth career multihomer game.
Miguel Sano and Eduardo Escobar also connected for the Twins, who hit seven homers over the last two games.
"That puts us on a pretty good pace," Molitor said with a laugh.
Orioles starter Kevin Gausman (0-1) allowed three home runs and lasted only four innings. The right-hander has gotten off to a slow start in each of the past two seasons, and this performance did nothing to dispel the notion that this year will be no different.
Dozier got things started with a drive into the left-field seats. Escobar added an RBI double, another run scored on a wild pitch and Byron Buxton capped the uprising with a run-scoring single.
In the third inning, Sano hit his second homer in two games and Escobar connected with two outs for a 6-0 lead.
Gausman gave up seven hits, walked two and threw two wild pitches. After starting 1-7 in 2016 and 3-7 last year, he worked this spring to avoid another early-season struggle.
That may still happen, but at this point his first priority is reducing his 13.50 ERA.
"I feel good. Everything feels great," Gausman insisted. "Who knows, maybe it was just a little cold today, (or I) didn't throw enough out in the `pen. I'm not too worried about it."
STAT PACK
Gausman is 1-4 with a 7.01 ERA in his season debuts. ... Signed as a free agent in February, Logan Morrison is 0 for 11 with three strikeouts for Minnesota. He had 38 homers and 85 RBIs with Tampa Bay last year. ... Max Kepler had hit in all nine career games against Baltimore before going 0 for 3 with a walk.
TRAINER'S ROOM
Orioles: LHP Zach Britton (Achilles) will travel with the team to Houston as he strives to get off the 60-day disabled list by June. Britton recently started running, and the final obstacle will be sprinting to cover first base.
UP NEXT
Twins: RHP Lance Lynn makes his Minnesota debut in Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon. He went 2-2 against the Pirates with the Cardinals last year.
Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman starts Monday night against the World Series champion Houston Astros in their home opener.

Williams pitches 6 no-hit innings, Pirates edge Tigers 1-0

On a chilly afternoon, Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams put the Detroit bats in a deep freeze.
Williams was pulled with a no-hitter in progress after six innings, and Pittsburgh hung on to beat the Tigers 1-0 Sunday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
Williams (1-0) threw 84 pitches, his count boosted by five walks, and was replaced by Michael Feliz to start the seventh.
"I was playing Russian roulette all day with the walks, so I totally understood the move," Williams said. "It was 1-0 when I came out and it ended up 1-0, so it worked perfectly."
Michael Feliz took over the begin the seventh and Nicholas Castellanos quickly ended the team no-hit bid with a one-out double down the left-field line.
George Kontos pitched the eighth and Felipe Rivero struck out the side in the ninth for his first save, finishing the combined two-hitter.
Rivero allowed four runs while only getting two outs in Pittsburgh's 13-10, 13-inning win on Friday.
"It was great to be able to go out there and pick up the team after being so bad in the first game," he said. "I was trying too hard, but today I relaxed and just hit the mitt."
The doubleheader was caused by a rainout Saturday. This game drew 14,858 fans, the smallest crowd at Comerica Park since 12,415 saw the Tigers beat the Royals on May 2, 2006. Temperatures were expected to drop below freezing for the nightcap.
Williams has pitched 13 shutout innings in two career starts against the Tigers, allowing one hit.
"I don't really remember the game I pitched against them in August, but they've got future Hall of Famers in that lineup, so I'm not sure what is happening," he said.
His effort came a day after Minnesota's Kyle Gibson was taken out after throwing 102 pitches in six no-hit innings at Baltimore.
"There was no doubt in my mind," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "With five walks and 84 pitches, it wasn't like he was going to get through nine innings, and we wanted to get to the bullpen."
Michael Fulmer (0-1) gave up one run on four hits and two walks in eight innings, striking out three.
"That was probably the coldest game of my big league career, but I handled it better than I expected," he said. "I was happy with how everything felt."
Gregory Polanco's RBI double gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the first, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.
The Tigers grounded into two double plays in the first three innings, then ran themselves out of the fourth with an inning-ending strikeout/caught stealing double play.
"It goes both ways on days like this, but I think I would rather be the pitcher," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I've gotten jammed on days like this, and it hurt."
Williams walked two batters in the fifth, forcing action in the Pirates bullpen, but he escaped the inning with two flyballs. He pitched a 1-2-3 sixth before giving way to Feliz.
TRAINER'S ROOM
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove threw 92 pitches in a Gulf Coast League game on Saturday and is expected to join the Pirates rotation later this week.
Tigers: RHP Mike Fiers (back) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Monday at Detroit's extended spring training facility and could come off the disabled list later in the week.
RIVERO BEATS CABRERA
Rivero went to a 2-0 count on Miguel Cabrera to start the ninth inning, but got three straight swinging strikes on fastballs.
"I was behind in the count, so he knew I was going to be throwing fastballs," Rivero said. "He just couldn't catch up with them."
UP NEXT
LHP Ryan Carpenter will make his major league debut for the Tigers in the second game, while RHP Chad Kuhl will pitch for the Pirates. Kuhl went 8-11 with a 4.35 ERA last season, allowing three runs in six innings of a win over the Tigers on Aug. 8.

Seattle Sounders 0, Montreal Impact 1 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

Any hope the Seattle Sounders had of securing some points at home vs. Montreal Impact didn't last long Saturday night. Kelvin Leerdam was sent off in the 40th minute after slapping Daniel Lovitz across the face, changing the game instantly. The Sounders were already without Clint Dempsey, who was serving his own one-game suspension from a red card in Seattle's last game, but going down to 10 men proved a bridge too far.
Ignacio Piatti and Jeisson Vargas linked up for the Impact in the match's only goal and, while the match was surprisingly close despite Montreal's man advantage, the result was what everyone expected. The Impact should perhaps thank goalkeeper Evan Bush for preserving their lead.

Dodgers get 1st runs and win of season, 5-0 over Giants

The rap music boomed in the clubhouse, and Dave Roberts succinctly summed up the collective relief.
"We won a game," the Dodgers manager said, smiling.
Kenta Maeda struck out 10 over five scoreless innings, and Los Angeles finally found its offense to beat the San Francisco Giants 5-0 on Saturday night for the team's first win of the season.
The Dodgers got their loudest cheers in the first inning for a sacrifice fly by Yasiel Puig that scored their first run of the season, snapping an 18-inning scoreless streak that was the second-longest in franchise history.
After striking out 18 times in a pair of 1-0 defeats to open the season, the Dodgers led 2-0 when Matt Kemp followed Puig with an RBI single off Derek Holland (0-1). It was Kemp's first RBI with the team since Sept. 28, 2014.
Kike Hernandez added a run with another sacrifice fly in the third.
Maeda (1-0) allowed five hits and walked one. He faced baserunners in every inning except the fifth.
"My four-seam fastball was pretty good," the Japanese said through a translator.
He pitched out of a jam in the second. Maeda gave up two-out singles to Hunter Pence and Gregor Blanco, putting the tying runs on first and second before Holland struck out looking to end the inning.
"Kenta was on the attack from the beginning," Roberts said. "His fastball velocity was really good and he kept these guys off-balance and was in control all night long."
Relievers Ross Stripling, Pedro Baez and Scott Alexander combined to toss four scoreless innings.
The Dodgers extended their lead to 5-0 in the fourth on a two-run error by center fielder Blanco. Kyle Farmer was safe at second after Blanco and right fielder Andrew McCutchen miscommunicated on a fly ball and Blanco dropped it, allowing Cody Bellinger and Austin Barnes to score. Holland walked both Bellinger and Barnes.
"I don't think we heard each other because we were both screaming," McCutchen said. "I backed off at the last minute when I saw him going after it. It is just one of those crazy plays that happens. They scored two runs off it, you hate that."
Holland gave up five runs - three earned - and three hits in five innings of his Giants debut. The left-hander struck out four and walked three.
The Giants collected nine hits and left 10 runners on base while failing to advance anyone past second.
Joe Panik, whose solo homers beat the Dodgers in the first two games, hit into a game-ending double play in the ninth.
McCutchen and Evan Longoria - two big offseason acquisitions for the Giants - continued to struggle. McCutchen is 1 for 12 with two strikeouts and Longoria is 0 for 11 with four strikeouts in their first three games.
"I'm getting the pitches to hit, I'm just not hitting them," Longoria said. "I'm chasing and probably a little too hard, trying to do too much. It gets magnified when you lose for sure, when you don't get hits."
TRAINER'S ROOM
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija, on the DL with a pectoral strain, threw about 20 pitches in a side session and will try a bullpen session on Tuesday. Manager Bruce Bochy said he could begin a rehab assignment within a week. ... After seeking a second opinion, RHP Julian Hernandez is scheduled for Tommy John surgery on Thursday in Arizona.
RING CEREMONY
The Dodgers received their NL championship rings in a ceremony on the field before the game. Local children met players and coaches near home plate and presented them with a box containing the jewelry. The team's logo is over 1 carat of white diamonds, with 0.6 carats of blue sapphires behind it, and "2017 National League Champions" written around it. One side features the player's name above an engraving of Dodger Stadium with the player's number in the scoreboard silhouette. The other side features the team and MLB logos and the LA-best record of 104-58, along with the club's postseason slogan, "This Team."
SLOW START
The Giants have scored two runs on 19 hits in three games. "We are going to get going, get moving, things will start turning," McCutchen said. "We are too good of a team for it not to. No one is stressing on it over here."
OOPSIE
The Giants had three errors, their most since last April 30 against San Diego. Besides Blanco's miscue, Longoria and Brandon Belt had errors. The Dodgers turned two double plays to atone for their four errors - three by Logan Forsythe - on Friday.
NO PANIK
Panik is 5-for-12 with two homers and two RBIs in his first three games. The second baseman has hit safely in eight of his last 10 at Dodger Stadium, batting .325 with one double, two homers and four RBIs.
UP NEXT
Right-hander Chris Stratton of the Giants opposes left-hander Rich Hill in the series finale. Stratton allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last nine starts in 2017 with a 2.42 ERA. Hill is 5-2 with a 2.43 ERA in 11 career starts against San Francisco.

Colorado Rapids 3, Philadelphia Union 0 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

Dominique Badji struck for a hat trick to help lift the Colorado Rapids to a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Union Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. It is the first win for new coach Anthony Hudson.
Badji put the Rapids (1-1-1) in front in the 53rd minute. Tommy Smith headed Jack Price’s outswinging corner kick down and Badji flicked out his left foot to push the ball under the crossbar.
Badji added his second eight minutes later when he received a cross from Dillon Serna and laid it off for Johan Blomberg, whose shot deflected off Union defender Jack Elliott. The ball caromed right to Badji, who calmly finished into the empty net with Andre Blake having challenged the initial shot.
Badji completed the hat trick, the first for the Rapids since Sanna Nyassi in July, 2011, three minutes from full time as the Rapids extended a home unbeaten streak to six games, while Philadelphia (1-1-1) suffered their first loss of the season and is now winless in 13 straight games away from Talen Energy Stadium.

3s please: Villanova sets F4 record in 95-79 win over Kansas

To sum things up, Villanova was feelin' it Saturday night.
Like every night that ends in "Y" for the Wildcats.
Like all these games where they walk away with a "W" and leave their opponents shaking their heads.
Villanova moved within a win of another title, sinking a Final Four-record 18 3-pointers, while cementing itself as the most-prolific 3-point-shooting team in college history in a 95-79 runaway over Kansas.
"Well, that was just one of those nights," Villanova coach Jay Wright said.
Normally the third or fourth option on a team full of shooters, junior wingman Eric Paschall led the barrage, going 4 for 5 from 3, 10 for 11 overall, and finishing with a career-high 24 points.
But the hoop was as wide as the Alamodome for pretty much everyone in a Wildcats jersey.
Seven `Nova players made 3s. Villanova tied the Final Four record for 3s in game with 3:45 left in the first half. The Wildcats shot 45 percent from 3 - 5 points higher than their season average, which ranked 15th in the nation this season.
Next up is Michigan, which will try to guard the perimeter Monday night when Villanova (35-5) goes for its second title in three seasons.
Good luck with that.
Nobody has had much success this season, and in what turned out to be an unexpectedly lopsided matchup between top seeds, Kansas (31-8) certainly didn't Saturday night. AP Player of the Year Jalen Brunson made three 3s and finished with 18 points. Omari Spellman made three, as well, in a 15-point, 13-rebound monster game.
"As good a team as I've played against that I can remember," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "We got spread out on defense. The game plan went to crap. You get caught in between on defense, and it's the worst thing you can do."
About a minute into the second half, Paschall drained a 3 for Villanova's 14th of the game, breaking a Final Four record first set by UNLV in 1987.
Much earlier, at about the 13-minute mark of the first half, Collin Gillespie spotted up and swished for `Nova's sixth 3 of the game, which gave it the NCAA record for 3s in a season, with 442.
VMI set that record in 2007. Very few remember that team, though, because even though the importance of the long shot has grown as the decades have passed, it's never been thought of as a guaranteed way to win consistently.
Wright's team is laying waste to that theory and, at times, making other teams look bad while doing it.
On Saturday, the typical Villanova possession involved working the ball down low on the wing, then a skip pass across the bottom of the paint, followed by one, two or three passes around the arc until somebody got open. It usually worked. Against both the Jayhawks' man defense and their zone. Most of `Nova's 18 makes barely skimmed the net.
"We knew they'd have to miss some pretty decent looks, but they got anything they wanted early, and they knocked everything down," Self said.
Villanova attempted 40 shots from 3, and only 25 from 2.
Gillespie's record-setter gave Villanova a 22-4 lead, and at that point, Kansas had as many turnovers as points and had taken as many timeouts as it had field goals.
Self did what he could, urging his 7-foot center, Udoka Azubuike, out of the paint and into the faces of this group of hybrid forward-guards, all of whom can shoot. The big fella couldn't get there.
The Jayhawks, back in the dome where they cut down the nets 10 years ago after their last title, made mini runs. But the deficit never got below double digits.
Devonte Graham, the senior guard who has been the glue in this Final Four season, led Kansas with 23 points. Malik Newman, who pushed his game into overdrive during the postseason, had 21. They combined to make 6 of 13 3-pointers themselves, but didn't get much help.
Much of that was credit to the Villanova defense. Wright and co. spent more time in the postgame talking about defense and rebounding than the shooting clinic they put on.
"If we didn't get stops, it was getting back to being a five- or six-point game," Wright said.
But they did.
And it didn't.
About the only drama in the second half was whether the Wildcats would top Loyola Marymount's NCAA Tournament record of 21 3-pointers in a game (against Michigan in 1990). Didn't happen, mainly because they didn't need it too.
But there's still Monday.
"They'll be hard for anyone to deal with," Self said, "if they shoot the ball like that."

Yelich ties career high with 5 hits in Brewers' 7-3 win

Milwaukee's bold offseason moves for Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain are working quite well so far.
Yelich tied his career high with five hits to lead a dominating performance by the Nos. 2-3-4 hitters for the Brewers, who swept the San Diego Padres with a 7-3 victory Saturday night.
Yelich scored three times and drove in two runs as Milwaukee improved to 3-0 for the first time since it won its first five games in 2006. Cain had three hits and two RBIs, and Travis Shaw drove in three runs.
"It could be a fun year for the middle of the order," Shaw said. "Tonight's special; 2-3-4 get on, what, 10 times? Yelich with five hits. His bat-to-ball skills are unbelievable. He finds a way to get the barrel to the ball every single time no matter the count. He's fun to watch."
The Brewers bolstered their outfield when they acquired Yelich in a January trade with Miami and signed Cain to an $80 million, five-year contract during free agency.
Yelich matched the career high he set when he had five hits for the Marlins against Philadelphia on Oct. 3, 2015.
"Anytime you do that there's always a little luck involved," he said. "There's some ground balls that just missed some people's gloves and they find some grass out there, but it's a good feeling. You get on base in front of the big guys, with Lo Cain, and start putting pressure on the other team every time you get out there and usually good things happen when you do that."
Yelich had his first three hits off Luis Perdomo (0-1), including a single in the first, a single in the third and an RBI double in the fourth. He then singled off Robbie Erlin in the sixth and added an RBI single in the eighth to chase Erlin, who missed all of 2017 while rehabbing from reconstructive elbow surgery.
Shaw singled in Yelich in the first and brought in Yelich and Cain in the third with a double that bounced over the left-field fence. Cain singled in Yelich in the fourth and added an RBI single in the eighth.
Yelich, Cain and Shaw had 10 of the Brewers' 12 hits. Cain and Shaw each walked once.
"They're a good team," San Diego manager Andy Green said. "You make mistakes to the heart of their order, they're going to make you pay. Those are real hitters in the middle of their order."
With the Padres facing a right-hander, Ryan Braun was out of the lineup and left-handed hitting Eric Thames started at first and batted leadoff. Braun's impressive three-run homer capped a five-run rally in the ninth inning Friday night that gave Milwaukee an 8-6 win.
Braun is impressed with Yelich.
"He has a picture-perfect swing," Braun said. "It's what you'd try to teach kids. It doesn't get much better than that."
Brewers left-hander Brent Suter (1-0) went five innings, allowing three runs and three hits. He combined with Josh Hader and Jacob Barnes on a six-hitter.
Freddy Galvis hit a two-run homer for San Diego in the second, and Eric Hosmer doubled home a run in the third.
Perdomo allowed five runs and seven hits in four innings.
"It's two years on the roster. It's time for him to go, it's time for him to step up and attack," Green said of Perdomo. "The challenge is there out in front of him."
COMING BACK
Erlin was a candidate for the rotation coming out of spring straining. "Coming back from Tommy John, being out for a long time, I like where he is," Green said. "He gave us an opportunity to get back in that game. We just didn't put much on the board after that third inning."
TRAINER'S ROOM
Padres: OF Wil Myers will take two days off because of a sore back.
UP NEXT
Brewers: Following an off day, RHP Zach Davies is scheduled to start the home opener Monday against RHP Miles Mikolas and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Padres: RHP Bryan Mitchell is scheduled to make his Padres debut Monday night in the opener of a home series against Colorado, which will counter with RHP Chad Bettis.

Sporting Kansas City 1, D.C. United 0 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

Sporting Kansas City dominated D.C. United Saturday after an early United mistake on defense. In the 3rd minute, Felipe Gutiérrez shot a low ball between the legs of defender Frédéric Brillant. The ball ricocheted off Brillant and into the net.
United desperately tried to create some type of offense in the waining minutes by adding two additional forwards in Patrick Mullins and Dane Kelly, but could not find the back of the net. Sporting KC welcomed the 1-0 shutout as its first of the season.

Houston Dynamo 0, New England Revolution 2 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

The New England Revolution added to their early season run of results, as well as to the Houston Dynamo's current woes, winning 2-0 in a Saturday night tilt at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Early in the match, the Dynamo looked as they might dominate the match, winning six corners in the first ten minutes to the Revolution's zero. But in the 15th minute, the Revolution sprung a counter attack, and Teal Bunbury buried a shot from close range to give New England a goal against the run of play. It went from bad to worse for the home side in the 37th minute when DaMarcus Beasley, beat on a 1-on-1 situation against Cristian Penilla, made a goal-saving, but red-card-worthy foul. That left the Dynamo down to 10 men. 
In a second half flush with chances but short on scoring, Penilla scored the only goal with a 71st-minute strike to double the Revolution's advantage.

San Jose Earthquakes 1, New York City FC 2 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

The San Jose Earthquakes were off to a dream start after a very early goal by Yeferson Quintana. But not even the late injury scratch of David Villa could hold New York City FC back. It took until the second half for the NYCFC to figure it out, but the visitors silenced the San Jose crowd with goals from Anton Tinnerholm and Maxi Moralez to finish 2-1.

Minnesota United FC 0, Atlanta United FC 1 | 2018 MLS Match Recap

Atlanta United FC did not play in the snow against Minnesota United FC this time around, but a game marked by frigid temperatures ended in a 1-0 win for the 10-man Five Stripes on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.
A year ago, the first meeting between these clubs led to a blowout win in the snow for Atlanta, but despite playing a far closer game on this occasion, the result was the same.
The scoring occurred in the third minute, as an Atlanta corner kick bounced around in Minnesota's box, with a couple chances threatening on goal, before one bounced off Loons defender Francisco Calvo and trickled in for an own goal.
But Atlanta went down to 10 men shortly before halftime, as defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, who picked up a yellow card in the very first minute, got his second of the match in the 38th minute and was given his marching orders. Despite holding the majority of possession in the second half and a handful of good chances on goal, the Loons could not find a way to tie up the game and go for a result.

Blackmon homers twice, Rockies beat Diamondbacks 2-1

With two big swings, Charlie Blackmon provided just enough offense to salvage the finale of Colorado's season-opening series in Arizona.
The leadoff hitter and reigning National League batting champion homered twice, and the Rockies edged the Diamondbacks 2-1 on Saturday night.
"Charlie Blackmon is a good hitter and he beat us tonight," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "He single-handedly beat us. Sometimes you've got to give credit where credit is due."
Colorado's pitching staff had a lot to do with the win, too.
After scoring 17 runs in the first two games, Arizona managed only an unearned run Saturday.
"We got to pitch," Rockies manager Bud Black said, "and if we don't pitch we are not going to contend."
Blackmon, whose three hits in the series were all homers, tied the game with a leadoff drive against Zack Greinke in the sixth inning. He added another leadoff shot against Fernando Salas (0-1) in the eighth.
The Rockies' new-look bullpen allowed one hit in the final four innings.
Bryan Shaw (1-0) pitched a scoreless seventh to get the victory. Jake McGee retired the heart of Arizona's lineup in order in the eighth, and Wade Davis pitched a perfect ninth for the save in his Rockies debut.
"Just happy to get out there for the first time and get some of the jitters out of the way," said Davis, who had 32 saves in 33 tries for the Cubs last season. "There is definitely tons (of jitters), especially not pitching the first two games. I was really happy to get out there."
Greinke and Rockies starter German Marquez each had a solid performance.
Greinke, a 17-game winner last season who had his first start pushed back by a minor groin issue in spring training, struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings.
Marquez allowed four hits, struck out four and walked four in five innings. His strong outing followed two poor outings by Rockies starters.
"You see how a starting pitching performance keeps you in the game, even though it was only five innings," Black said. "It kept us in the game and from here we got a couple of big swings from Charlie and the bullpen did an incredible job."
The Diamondbacks took the lead in the fourth.
Daniel Descalso singled with one out and Jarrod Dyson hit a bouncer toward second base. Shortstop Trevor Story booted the grounder into center field and Descalso advanced to third. He scored when Nick Ahmed grounded into a fielder's choice, barely beating out the potential double play.
Greinke blanked the Rockies for five innings on three hits before Blackmon caught the pitcher's slow curve ball on the first pitch of the sixth and sent it into the right-field seats.
Greinke uses the curve, in the mid-70 mph range, often but hadn't thrown it to Blackmon all night.
"He's pretty patient first pitch but he doesn't necessarily give up on a first-pitch curve," Greinke said. "If you locate it a little better, it's probably going to be OK. It was just a bad location. You've just got to hope he takes it, with where the location was."
Asked if he was expecting the curve, Blackmon said: "It is a secret."
"I can't tell you that," he said, "but I will say he threw that pitch down the middle, which makes it easier."
Ten of Colorado's 11 runs in the series came via the home run.
TRAINER'S ROOM
Diamondbacks: RHP Randall Delgado (on the 10-day DL with a left oblique strain) threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session on Friday. RHP Shelby Miller, on the 60-day DL recovering from Tommy John surgery, threw 35 pitches in his session.
MEMORIES
The Diamondbacks commemorated their 20 years in the majors with the starting pitcher of their first game, Andy Benes, throwing out a ceremonial first pitch to Jorge Fabregas, his catcher that day. Sam Moore of Sam and Dave's "Soul Man" fame sang the national anthem, just as he did in that first game in 1998. The first 20,000 fans got jerseys in the team's old purple pinstripes with the No. 98, the year the team began play.
UP NEXT
Both teams have Sunday off.
The Rockies send right-hander Chad Bettis to the mound Monday night in the opener of a three-game series in San Diego.
Arizona opens a three-game series at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night, with right-hander Taijuan Walker on the mound for the Diamondbacks and right-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu going for the Dodgers.