Lyles, Marte, González injured in Pirates’ win over Giants

Lyles, Marte, González injured in Pirates’ win over Giants
By ALAN SAUNDERS Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pirates right-hander Jordan Lyles expects to make his next start after an injury scare Friday night.
It’s not so certain if center fielder Starling Marte and shortstop Erik González will be so lucky.
Lyles cruised through six innings before taking a line drive off his pitching hand, Marte and González were pulled after a collision in the field, and short-handed Pittsburgh beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1.
Lyles (2-0) continued his hot start, striking out six and allowing four hits in a scoreless outing that dropped his ERA to a major league-best 0.53. His hand was bruised by Joe Panik’s line drive, which González snagged for an inning-ending double play.
Lyles believes he was able to escape without serious damage.
“I got clipped on a couple fingers,” he said. “In between innings, it just started to swell up a little bit. I felt like we might’ve been better off with another guy out there. I just lost a little feeling, but we’re good to go. We did some tests and we’re good to go. I’ll be ready for my next start.”
In the eighth, Marte charged from center on a softly hit ball by Yangervis Solarte and slammed into González. González walked off, with trainers attending to his left shoulder, which took the brunt of the collision. Marte took longer to get to his feet and was driven off the field on a cart. The team did not provide an update on the status of either player.
Manger Clint Hurdle was not clear as to what caused the collision.
“The last thing I’m going to do is assess blame,” he said. “Sometimes, when you get in those situations, both guys could be calling for the ball simultaneously.”
The Pirates have eight players already on the injured list but haven’t exactly been hampered. They hold the best winning percentage in the NL with an 11-6 record.
Pittsburgh got all of its runs against Madison Bumgarner (1-3) in the first inning. Francisco Cervelli had a two-run double, and Pablo Reyes and JB Shuck added RBI singles.
Bumgarner allowed just two more hits over his final five innings. He struck out seven. He pointed to a two-out walk issued to Jung Ho Kang as the big issue in the first.
“I don’t want to give them a free baserunner out there,” he said. “That’s what we did, and he scored.”
Manager Bruce Bochy thought his team could have done more to pick up its ace. The only San Francisco run came when Buster Posey singled home Solarte in the eighth.
“He bounced back very well,” Bochy said. “He gave us five needed innings after that because we’ve used the ‘pen quite a bit. Hey, he gave us a chance. We’ve got to get these bats going. One run today, not scoring early again is making every game an uphill climb for us.”
The Giants’ next-best scoring opportunity was snuffed out in the second when Brandon Crawford tried to score on a flyball to right, but Melky Cabrera’s throw beat him easily.
Felipe Vázquez struck out the side in the ninth for his sixth save.
NEW LOOK
Cervelli’s two-out double ended an 0-for-24 skid. Cervelli grew a goatee to help change things up in the slump. It took an eight-pitch battle with Bumgarner before he finally broke through.
“I’ve got to keep it now,” he said with a smile.
TRAINER’S ROOM
?Pirates: INF Adam Frazier did not play due to back spasms. … OF Lonnie Chisenhall (broken finger) began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis, going 0 for 3. Hurdle said he’s expected to work in left field, right field, at first base and possibly at third base.
UP NEXT
Giants: LHP Derek Holland (1-2, 4.09 ERA) is scheduled to start on Saturday. He’s averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings through four starts.
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (0-2, 2.43) will make his fifth start of the season. He’s 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three career starts against San Francisco.
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Pirates top Tigers in 10 innings again, 3-2

Pirates top Tigers in 10 innings again, 3-2
By NOAH TRISTER AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) — At this point, Clint Hurdle is probably used to managing for more than nine innings.
Colin Moran hit an RBI single in the top of the 10th, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Wednesday night. It was the second straight night Hurdle’s Pirates beat Detroit in 10 innings, and it was the sixth extra-inning game already this season for Pittsburgh. Hurdle has guided the Pirates to a 4-2 record in those.
“I’ve been fortunate to have some experience to draw upon, and coaching for some men that had some experience,” Hurdle said. “I’ve had some men that I’ve been able to work with and watch. Sometimes, more than anything, you need to act like you know what you’re doing.”
Spencer Turnbull allowed two hits in six innings for Detroit, but he was denied his first career win after reliever Joe Jiménez loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Daniel Stumpf relieved Jiménez and gave up a tying sacrifice fly to Josh Bell.
Pittsburgh star Starling Marte was beaned by Jiménez during that eighth inning, but he remained in the game and hit a single in the 10th.
The game was played in rainy conditions, and Tigers left fielder Christin Stewart slipped and fell while catching Bell’s flyball in the eighth. Stewart stayed in for his plate appearance in the bottom of the inning, then left with a right quad injury.
In the middle of the eighth, there was an announcement telling fans to leave the seating area because of severe weather in the area, but the teams played on. Eventually, fans were told they could return, and there were plenty of good seats available down near the field.
Adam Frazier led off the 10th with a double off Buck Farmer (1-1), and Marte and Moran followed with singles, giving the Pirates the lead. Nick Burdi (2-1) pitched a perfect ninth, and Felipe Vázquez finished for his fifth save in five chances.
“Obviously, it’s a welcome challenge when you’re playing close games every day,” Moran said. “That means you’re in every game, and you’ve got a chance to win.”
Turnbull allowed only an unearned run in the fourth in his seventh career start.
“I was pretty happy with myself, although I had one stretch in the middle that wasn’t good,” Turnbull said. “I was able to get it back, though. I was sailing a few pitches, but I made an adjustment and pretty much started hitting my spots again.”
Pittsburgh starter Trevor Williams allowed two runs in six innings.
Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. With two outs, Detroit shortstop Ronny Rodríguez couldn’t handle Jung Ho Kang’s hard grounder, letting it past for an error. Bell came home from second on that play.
The Tigers pushed across two runs in their half of that inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Rodríguez lifted a fly to left. Jason Martin made the catch, but his throw home was a bit off line, and Miguel Cabrera was safe on a close play.
John Hicks followed with an RBI single to left that landed in front of Martin, who appeared to get a late break on the ball.
Pittsburgh has won nine of 12.
SCARY MOMENT
Jiménez, making his 100th career appearance, gave up a single and a walk before hitting Marte with a pitch that may have glanced off the Pittsburgh slugger’s shoulder but also appeared to hit him around the left ear flap on his helmet. He was slow getting up but stayed in.
“They’re always horrible,” Hurdle said. “We’ve obviously been through a few of them now, both with shots off the mound and shots at the plate.”
TRAINER’S ROOM
Tigers: Detroit has lost LHP Matt Moore for the season after he had knee surgery. Manager Ron Gardenhire updated Moore’s status before the game.
UP NEXT
Pirates: Pittsburgh has Thursday off before starting a home series with San Francisco. RHP Jordan Lyles (1-0) starts for the Pirates against LHP Madison Bumgarner (1-2) on Friday night.
Tigers: Detroit hosts a four-game set against the Chicago White Sox. RHP Tyson Ross (1-2) takes the mound for the Tigers on Thursday against RHP Ivan Nova (0-2).
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Marte’s homer in 10th inning lifts Pirates over Tigers 5-3

Marte’s homer in 10th inning lifts Pirates over Tigers 5-3
By NOAH TRISTER AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Starling Marte dropped down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning of Pittsburgh’s game against Detroit. Not exactly the norm for the slugging outfielder — but a sign of how much he’s struggled early this season.
Later, with the score tied in the 10th, it was time to swing away.
Marte’s two-run homer lifted the Pirates to a 5-3 victory over the Tigers on Tuesday night. It was only the second home run of the season for Marte, who is hitting .213.
“You saw him take the game in his own hands earlier and put down a bunt. There’s no bunt sign on. He wanted to bunt,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He put down the bunt the one time, and then had a couple punchouts. And then, what a sweet swing.”
Jung Ho Kang also went deep for Pittsburgh, which blew a 3-0 lead but recovered to win when Marte hit a two-out drive off Shane Greene (0-1). Detroit’s closer hadn’t allowed a run all season.
“Breaking ball,” Marte said. “Slider, I think. Gave me a pitch right in the middle. Didn’t try to do too much. Just tried to hit the ball up the middle.”
Keone Kela (1-0) gave up a tying single by Jeimer Candelario in the ninth, but Nick Kingham was able to close out the Tigers in the 10th for his first career save.
Pittsburgh starter Joe Musgrove permitted his first two earned runs of the season but was otherwise impressive. He yielded six hits and a walk while striking out six in seven innings.
Tigers starter Matthew Boyd struck out the side in the first but eventually allowed three runs in seven innings.
Pittsburgh opened the scoring on an RBI infield single by Pablo Reyes in the second. With runners on first and third and two outs, Reyes hit a weak grounder to first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who looked to throw to second for a force, only to realize he had no play there. That initial reaction also cost him any chance of a play at first.
The Tigers wasted an opportunity in the third when Gordon Beckham hit a leadoff double and Grayson Greiner followed with a single. Beckham was sent home on Greiner’s hit and was thrown out at the plate by Reyes from left field.
“When the ball is hit to the left side, you freeze for a second to make sure it gets through, because you don’t want to run into an out,” Beckham said. “We wanted to force the issue and he made a great throw.”
Kang’s two-run homer in the fourth made it 3-0. He’s just 6 for 42 on the season, but two of those hits are home runs.
The Tigers scored two runs in their half of the fourth. Cabrera came home on a passed ball, and Christin Stewart hit an RBI double.
Musgrove had allowed no earned runs in 15 1/3 innings entering the game.
Pittsburgh closer Felipe Vázquez, who pitched two innings at Washington on Sunday, was given the night off.
FAMILIAR FACE
Josh Harrison, who went from the Pirates to the Tigers in the offseason via free agency, went hitless against his former team.
“I’ve got guys over there that I played with, a lot of good friendships, but there’s no added motivation or anything,” Harrison said before the game. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re another opponent — trying to win a series.”
Detroit also added former Pittsburgh infielder Jordy Mercer, but he’s on the injured list right now after straining his quad.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Pirates: Reinstated RHP Kyle Crick (right triceps) from the 10-day injured list and optioned INF Kevin Kramer to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos (toe) played for the first time since Wednesday, going 1 for 5 as the DH.
UP NEXT
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (1-0) starts Wednesday night in the finale of this two-game series. Williams threw six no-hit innings in a win at Detroit last April.
Tigers: Spencer Turnbull (0-2) takes the mound for Detroit.
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Islanders finish off Penguins 3-1 for stunning playoff sweep

 

 

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders’ turnaround season is heading to the second round of the playoffs.

Jordan Eberle scored for the fourth straight game, Robin Lehner stopped 32 shots and the Islanders finished off Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins with a clinical 3-1 win in Game 4 on Tuesday night to pull off a stunning sweep.

Josh Bailey set up Brock Nelson’s go-ahead goal late in the first period and added an empty-net score with 38 seconds remaining as the Islanders easily captured the franchise’s second playoff series victory in 26 years.

The Islanders trailed for less than five minutes across four games against the Penguins, whose 13th straight postseason appearance ended quietly. Pittsburgh managed just six goals in the series, including Jake Guentzel’s first of the postseason 35 seconds into the game.

It wasn’t nearly enough to stop the Islanders. New York allowed the fewest goals in the league during the regular season, and then backed it up with 12-plus periods of sound hockey that’s quickly become their calling card under first-year coach Barry Trotz, who led the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup last season.

The Penguins did their best to stay loose while trying to avoid getting swept in the first round for the second time in franchise history. Typically buttoned-down coach Mike Sullivan cracked a joke after Tuesday’s morning skate and did little to tinker with his lineup, adamant Pittsburgh could pick itself up off the mat if it got back to — as Sullivan so often puts it — “playing the right way.”

The team that began the playoffs with hopes of capturing its third Stanley Cup in four years looked ready to bounce back. For a couple of minutes anyway.

Guentzel found space in the slot and ripped a shot past Lehner 35 seconds into the game for the first goal of the series by Pittsburgh’s top line. The 574th consecutive home sellout crowd buzzed. The Penguins had the momentum and the lead.

Just as they did at every critical point during what became a lopsided series, the Islanders responded almost immediately.

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang whiffed while trying to pinch into the New York zone, creating a 2-on-1 the other way that Eberle finished to even it at 1 just 1:34 after Guentzel had put Pittsburgh in front.

The goal seemed to steady the Islanders, who settled in and kept it simple. New York posted the franchise’s best regular-season record in 35 years by limiting chances and relying heavily on Trotz’s system that preaches pragmatism and patience.

The Islanders weathered Pittsburgh’s early push and went ahead with 1:54 to go in the first period when Nelson slipped behind Penguins forward Garrett Wilson and darted to the net. Bailey’s pass from the below the goal line arrived right as Nelson flashed in front of Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray. Nelson flicked a shot over Murray’s right pad, and New York was back in control.

Another stellar defensive effort and a little bit of puck luck helped. Crosby hit the inside of the left post in the middle of the second period, and Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield bailed out Lehner by making a save with his left leg on a point-blank shot by Phil Kessel early in the third.

And that was it. When Bailey’s flip went the length of the ice and into the empty net, the Islanders’ bench erupted and the Penguins trudged toward an offseason that could lead to significant changes.

NOTES: Crosby’s assist on Guentzel’s goal moved him past Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman and into 10th place on the NHL’s all-time playoff points list (186). … Pittsburgh went 0 for 3 on the power play and finished 1 for 11 in the series with the man advantage. … The Islanders were 0 for 3 on the power play. … Lehner stopped 135 of the 141 shots he faced in the series. … Murray finished with 23 saves.

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Scoring Updates: Penguins vs. Islanders Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 7:30 pm.

 

 

 First Second Final 
Pittsburgh Penguins

111
New York Islanders223
GoalsPenguins:
Jake Guentzel (0:35)

Islanders:
Jordan Eberle (2:09)
Brock Nelson (18:06)
Islanders:
Josh Bailey (19:22)

 

Marine running marathon for fallen friends crawls to finish

Marine running marathon for fallen friends crawls to finish
By JOHN SEEWER Associated Press
A Marine veteran running in the Boston Marathon in honor of his three fallen friends says he never thought about giving up even when his legs gave out.
Micah Herndon says his military training kicked in while crawling the last 100 yards (91 meters) to the finish during Monday’s marathon.
The Tallmadge, Ohio, man says deciding to crawl was kind of second nature and that he just kept saying the names of his three friends who died in Afghanistan.
Herndon said Tuesday a day after his third marathon that he got into running after recovering from combat injuries he suffered nine years ago.
He says he was running for not only his friends but all veterans and hopes they can find their own release. He says his just happens to be running.

Pirates RHP Archer drops appeal, begins serving suspension

Pirates RHP Archer drops appeal, begins serving suspension
WASHINGTON (AP) — Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Chris Archer dropped his appeal and began serving a five-game suspension Sunday for setting off a benches-clearing altercation on April 7.
The impact of Archer’s suspension will be minimal. He ended his appeal a day after allowing one run in seven innings against Washington, getting a no-decision in Pittsburgh’s loss. The Pirates have two days off this week, and Archer will make his next start April 21 against San Francisco.
He was suspended for throwing a fastball behind Cincinnati’s Derek Dietrich, who had stood and watched a long home run in his previous at-bat. Archer was not among the five players ejected from the game.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a reduction in suspension games, so it’s just time to move on,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Sunday.
Archer, who is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts, said he was told the reason for the suspension was that it instigated the benches to clear.
“If the benches wouldn’t have cleared, then it might be a different verdict,” Archer said. “It’s what they came up with. They’re not going to budge, so there’s no reason to delay.”
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Rookie Jason Martin hits RBI double in 9th, Pirates stop Nationals 4-3

Martin hits RBI double in 9th, Pirates stop Nationals 4-3
WASHINGTON (AP) — Faced with the based loaded, two outs and one of baseball’s hottest hitters at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, there was nowhere Felipe Vázquez wanted to be more than on the mound at Nationals Park.
The Pittsburgh Pirates relief ace then coaxed a flyball from Anthony Rendon to cap a two-inning outing Sunday and preserve a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals.
“I like that excitement,” Vázquez said. “He’s a good hitter right now and he’s been hitting the ball everywhere. For me, that’s a challenge. I take every hitter like him as a challenge.”
Rookie Jason Martin’s ground-rule double in the ninth inning off Wander Suero (1-1) scored Josh Bell to provide the go-ahead run for the Pirates.
“I was trying to locate it a little differently,” Suero said of the curveball Martin hit. “I was trying to get it on the dirt for him to chase it. Unfortunately, I hung it just a little bit and he made contact.”
That set up Vázquez (1-0), who pitched a scoreless eighth, to finish out the victory. He loaded the bases on a single, a walk and Adam Eaton’s bunt single with one out, but struck out Howie Kendrick.
That brought up Rendon, who is hitting .400 with six homers in 55 at-bats. On the sixth pitch, Rendon lofted a fly to center to end the game and secure Pittsburgh’s first series victory at Nationals Park since 2013.
“I made my own jam, so I had to get out and I worked my way through,” Vázquez said.
Vázquez, who pitched parts of two seasons for Washington before he was dealt to Pittsburgh in 2016, blossomed into an All-Star last year. He has yet to allow a run in 8 2/3 innings this season.
“The guy is incredibly talented,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “When you see him at 100 on his 42nd pitch, and basically you saw the velocity trend up throughout the outing.”
“Just the focus, that competitive spirit, and you’re going against a guy with a 10-game streak of extra base hits and he got a hit earlier and the bases are loaded. It’s all good stuff, and he loves those situations,” he said.
Washington starter Max Scherzer allowed three runs and seven hits while working a season-high eight innings. He struck out seven. He gave way to Suero, who walked Bell to lead off the ninth and moved to second on Colin Moran’s grounder.
With two outs, Martin hit a ground-rule double to left for his second major league RBI.
“He got some big outs and then he just couldn’t finish that last pitch,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said.
The inning compounded Washington’s early-season relief woes. The Nationals entered the day with the worst bullpen ERA in the majors and it rose to 7.75.
Pittsburgh starter Jameson Taillon gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings.
Rendon extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games with a single in the sixth.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Pirates: OF Gregory Polanco (left shoulder) had two hits and drove in two runs Saturday in his first rehabilitation appearance at Triple-A Indianapolis. … RHP Dovydas Neverauskas (oblique strain) had two strikeouts in a scoreless inning Saturday for Indianapolis. He’s thrown three scoreless innings during three rehab appearances at Indianapolis and Class A Bradenton.
Nationals: Martinez said 1B Matt Adams, who twisted his ankle Saturday while stepping on Pittsburgh RHP Chris Archer’s foot, was available to play Sunday.
ARCHER DROPS APPEAL
Archer dropped his appeal and began serving a five-game suspension for setting off a benches-clearing altercation on April 7. Archer threw a fastball behind Cincinnati’s Derek Dietrich, who had stood and watched a long home run in his previous at-bat. Archer, who pitched seven innings Saturday against Washington, will make his next start April 21 at home against San Francisco.
UP NEXT
Pirates: Pittsburgh has Monday off. It begins a two-game series at Detroit on Tuesday as RHP Joe Musgrove (1-0, 0.00 ERA) starts against the Tigers for the first time.
Nationals: After an off day Monday, RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 5.40) starts Tuesday as Washington begins a three-game series at home against San Francisco.
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Tiger Woods wins the Masters

Tiger Woods makes Masters 15th and most improbable major
By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Fallen hero, crippled star, and now a Masters champion again.
Tiger Woods rallied to win the Masters for the fifth time Sunday, a comeback that goes well beyond the two-shot deficit he erased before a delirious audience that watched memories turn into reality at Augusta National.
Woods had gone nearly 11 years since he won his last major, 14 years since that green jacket was slipped over his Sunday red shirt. He made it worth the wait, closing with a 2-under 70 for a one-shot victory and setting off a scene of raw emotion.
He scooped up 10-year-old Charlie, born a year after Woods won his 14th major at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S Open. He hugged his mother and then his 11-year-old daughter Sam, and everyone else in his camp that stood by him through a public divorce, an embarrassing DUI arrest from a concoction of painkillers and four back surgeries, the most recent one just two years ago to fuse his lower spine.
“WOOOOOOO!!!” Woods screamed as he headed for the scoring room with chants of “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger” echoing as loud as any of the roars on the back nine at Augusta National.
“It’s overwhelming, just because of what has transpired,” Woods said in Butler Cabin. “Last year I was lucky to be playing again. At the previous year’s dinner, I was really struggling. I missed a couple of years not playing this great tournament. To now be the champion … 22 years between wins is a long time. It’s unreal to experience this.”
Woods lost his impeccable image to a sex scandal, one of the swiftest and most shocking downfalls in sport.
He lost his health to four back surgeries that left him unable to get out of bed, much less swing a club, and he went two years without even playing a major. It was two years ago at the Masters when Woods said he needed a nerve block just to walk to the Champions Dinner. At that time, he thought his career is over.
Now the comeback is truly complete.
He wrapped his arms around his father when he won his first green jacket in 1997, changing the world of golf.
“Now I’m the dad with two kids there,” he said.
He wanted his children to see him win, once saying they saw him only as a YouTube legend. They were at the British Open when he had the lead briefly. They couldn’t make it to East Lake last September, when he won the Tour Championship for his first victory in five years.
“I wasn’t going to let that happen to them twice,” he said. “To let them see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope it’s something they’ll never forget.”
Woods won his 15th major, three short of the standard set by Jack Nicklaus. It was his 81st victory on the PGA Tour, one title away from the career record held by Sam Snead.
“A big ‘well done’ from me to Tiger,” Nicklaus tweeted. “I am so happy for him and for the game of golf. This is just fantastic!!!”
It was the first time Woods won a major when trailing going into the final round, and he needed some help from Francesco Molinari, the 54-hole leader who still was up two shots heading into the heart of Amen Corner.
And that’s when all hell broke loose at Augusta.
Molinari’s tee shot on the par-3 12th never had a chance, hitting the bank and tumbling into Rae’s Creek for double bogey. Until then, Molinari had never trailed in a round that began early in threesomes to finish ahead of storms.
And then it seemed as though practically everyone had a chance.
Six players had a share of the lead at some point on the back. With the final group still in the 15th fairway, there was a five-way tie for the lead. And that’s when Woods seized control, again with plenty of help.
Molinari’s third shot clipped a tree and plopped straight down in the water for another double bogey. Woods hit onto the green, setting up a two-putt birdie for his first lead of the final round.
The knockout punch was a tee shot into the 16th that rode the slope just by the cup and settled 2 feet away for birdie and a two-shot lead with two holes to play.
Xander Schauffele failed to birdie the par-5 15th and scrambled for pars the rest of the way for a 68. Dustin Johnson made three straight birdies late in the round, but he got going too late and had to settle for a 68 and a return to No. 1 in the world.
Brooks Koepka, one of four players from the final two groups who hit into the water on No. 12, rallied with an eagle on the 13th, narrowly missed another eagle on the 15th and was the last player with a chance. His birdie putt on the 18th from just outside 10 feet never had a chance, and he had to settle for a 70.
“You want to play against the best to ever play,” Koepka said. “You want to go toe-to-toe with them. I can leave saying I gave it my all. He’s just good, man.”
Wood finished at 13-under 275 and became, at 43, the oldest Masters champion since Nicklaus won his sixth green jacket at 46 in 1986. That for years has stood as Augusta’s defining moment.
This was one is sure to at least rival it.
“This is definitely, probably one of the greatest comebacks I think anybody’s ever seen,” Koepka said, before rattling off Woods’ total PGA Tour victories and 15 majors.
Is the Nicklaus record back in play?
“I think 18 is a whole lot closer than people think,” Koepka said.
Koepka and Molinari both faced Tigermania in the majors and held their own, Molinari at Carnoustie to win the British Open, Koepka last summer at Bellerive to win the PGA Championship.
Molinari went 49 straight holes without a bogey, a streak that ended on the seventh hole. It was the double bogeys that cost him, and the Italian was gracious as ever in defeat.
“I think I made a few new fans today with those double bogeys,” he said.
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Islanders top Penguins 4-1 to take 3-0 series lead

 

 

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders are on the cusp of just their second playoff series win in more than a quarter-century.

Jordan Eberle scored for the third straight game, Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots and the Islanders rolled to a 4-1 victory over the stunned Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday to take a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal.

Brock Nelson added his second goal of the playoffs and Leo Komarov scored the first postseason goal of his career for the Islanders, who have pushed the star-laden Penguins to the brink of elimination.

Garrett Wilson scored Pittsburgh’s lone goal, a first-period deflection past Lehner that gave the Penguins just their second lead of the series.

It didn’t last. Eberle tied it 28 seconds later and Nelson’s wrist shot put New York in front to stay just 1:02 after Eberle’s third playoff goal in as many games.

Komarov’s third-period goal gave the Islanders more than enough breathing room, and Anders Lee put the Penguins away with an empty-net goal with 1:28 remaining.

Matt Murray finished with 32 saves for the Penguins, but Pittsburgh again struggled to generate any sort of offensive momentum against the Islanders. New York, which allowed an NHL-low 196 goals during the regular season, has surrendered just five in three games.

Pittsburgh needs a win in Game 4 on Tuesday to avoid being swept for the first time since the 2013 Eastern Conference finals against Boston.

If the Islanders felt any pressure while taking their first 2-0 postseason lead since the 1983 Stanley Cup final — when they completed their run of four straight championships by sweeping Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers — it didn’t show. Just as it did back home on Long Island, New York didn’t back down against the star-studded Penguins.

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan downplayed the idea his team was “desperate” while facing a 2-0 deficit for the first time in his highly successful tenure. He still opted to tinker with his lines in search of a spark, elevating Dominik Simon to the top line alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel and putting Jared McCann — who sat out Game 2 with a lower-body injury — on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel.

Oddly, it was the fourth line that gave the Penguins an early lift when Garrett Wilson redirected a shot from the point by Marcus Pettersson past Lehner 12:54 into the first.

Yet the Islanders responded immediately. Eberle collected a pass from Ryan Pulock just above the goal line and flipped a shot short side over Murray’s right shoulder to tie it at 13:22. All of 62 seconds later, the Islanders were in front again when Nelson finished off a 2-on-1 by zipping the puck over Murray’s right arm.

Lehner made sure it was enough. Always seemingly in the right position, the 27-year-old never looked rattled. At one point he head-butted a loose puck out of danger, and New York’s aggressive forecheck and responsible play in its own end made sure he didn’t have to work too hard.

When Komarov’s score 10:27 into the third extended the lead to two, the Islanders were firmly in control and Pittsburgh’s postseason appearance inched closer to being the shortest of its 13-year run.