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Nationals Beat Mets, 4-3

first_imgWASHINGTON — Watching his center fielder and leadoff hitter, Denard Span, get up slowly and walk off the field gingerly after making a tumbling catch left Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams feeling uneasy.“When he starts limping,” Williams said, “of course there’s some tense moments in the dugout, for sure.”Span left in the third inning the night of Sept. 23 after banging and scraping his right knee while making a terrific grab on the warning track, and Washington went on to close in on home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs by beating the New York Mets 4-2.Span said Williams told him to plan on sitting out the Sept. 24th game to let the knee heal. Asked whether he’s worried, Span said: “It’s too soon. We’ll see. If a couple of days go by and it doesn’t feel good, then I will be.”Span noted there was no way he would consider not aggressively going after the liner off the bat of Matt den Dekker that ended the third inning.“He’s not going to shy away just because it’s this time of the year,” Williams said. “I wasn’t concerned with him hitting the wall. The way he went down was concerning. But they’re going to play. You can’t play any differently. … We can’t change now.”Span is a key player for the NL East champions. In addition to his strong defense, he has the club’s highest batting average at .300 and most stolen bases with 31.The fans rose to applaud after his catch, and outfielders Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth offered kudos on the way off the field. Tanner Roark (15-10) waited for Span on the grass between the infield and the dugout to give him a high-five and a pat on the chest.“He’s always making great plays like that,” said Roark, who allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings to win his third consecutive start.As good as Roark has been in his first full season as a major league starter, he appears destined for the bullpen in the postseason, because Washington is expected to go with a four-man rotation of Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez.The player who replaced Span, rookie Michael Taylor, doubled home Washington’s first run in the fifth. Taylor scored moments later on Adam LaRoche’s 26th homer.All of Washington’s runs came off Bartolo Colon (14-13) as the Mets dropped to 76-81; one more loss will ensure their sixth consecutive losing season.Drew Storen pitched a scoreless ninth, making him 9-for-9 in save chances since taking over the primary closer’s role from struggling Rafael Soriano on Sept. 7. What remained of the announced crowd of 30,714 stood and clapped at the end, one of a series of standing ovations.Coming off a 9-2 road trip, this was Washington’s first game at Nationals Park since Sept. 10 — and the first chance for the home fans to salute the players since they clinched their second NL East championship in three years last week in Atlanta, Roark’s previous outing.He was cheered loudly as he headed from the bullpen to the dugout before the game began, and again when he exited with two on in the seventh. When Washington’s players ran out to their positions for the top of the first, the crowd roared during another standing ovation, as the stadium announcer noted the division title.“We gave them their money’s worth and we won,” Roark said. “Got to keep going.”(HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Honduras must take advantage of first leg

first_imgHonduras Honduras must take advantage of first-leg of World Cup playoff in supportive Estadio Olimpico Jon Arnold Click here to see more stories from this author @ArnoldcommaJon 01:33 11/11/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Jorge Luis Pinto Honduras Johan Ordonez Honduras World Cup Honduras v Australia Australia WC Qualifying Play-Off Los Catrachos’ best hope of moving past the Socceroos is getting a big victory in Friday’s home leg The message from Honduras’ press ahead of Friday’s playoff first leg against Australia is clear. There’s no anger, no resentment, no frustration. We’re with the national team. All of Honduras is with the national team.”We’re all playing” read the headline in sports tabloid Diez, while Mas declared that “All Honduras will be in The Olimpico,” going on to explain that while some Catrachos will be in the stands and others watching from home “what’s important is that the national team won’t be alone today.”Mas: “All Honduras will be in The Olimpico…some in person others from their homes, what’s important is that the national team won’t be alone today” pic.twitter.com/vNDEMU7m3c— Well, hi! It’s soccer reporter Jon Arnold here! (@ArnoldcommaJon) November 10, 2017The press has been even more united than usual, with great umbrage taken at reports in Australia that characterized Honduras as a dangerous country and speculation that supporters might be better off sitting this trip out than heading to San Pedro Sula. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Jorge Luis Pinto’s side will take all the help it can get. It was a rocky World Cup qualification campaign that has Honduras in this playoff, and that dreams of arriving in the World Cup for the third consecutive tournament are still alive at all is an achievement.Honduras got out of the penultimate round of World Cup qualification by just a point, beating Canada at home before drawing Mexico to move through instead of the North Americans. They sat dead last in the Hex, the final round of CONCACAF qualification, and never were higher than fourth place. But thanks to a shock victory over Mexico on the final day of World Cup qualification and an even more shocking United States loss to Trinidad and Tobago, Honduras remains alive. The team was reeling at the start of the cycle after losing many of its veterans to retirement or simply the progression of time after the 2014 World Cup and had several big holes to fill. Some of those spots were taken up by coaxing veteran players back into the setup. Center back Victor Bernardez made a few cameos and 35-year-old forward Carlo Costly, who is on the playoff roster, has experienced a resurgence. He’s one of nine players 30 or older on the current squad.Honduras trainingOthers were taken by an incoming generation perhaps still not ready for the top stage. Forward Alberth Elis, 21, is suspended for the first leg but scored three goals for Honduras in the Hex trailing only 24-year-old Houston Dynamo teammate Rommel Quioto. At 23, Bryan Acosta has become a key piece in the middle of the field. Barcelona B striker Anthony Lozano, 24, also has seen his role grow.The Central Americans need a collective effort with players young and old pulling their weight if they’re going to go to Russia. The social media campaign “Today more than ever” launched by the federation speaks to how critical it is that Honduras gets off to the right start Friday.”The ideal would be to score several goals to give us an advantage, but the most important thing is that they don’t score on us at home,” Pinto said before the contest.It will be a bit of a departure from the typical style. Honduras earned its reputation over the last few cycles as a physical team that prefers to sit back and defend. They also won’t be able to rely on suspended captain and center back Maynor Figueroa at the back. Quioto and Lozano must make the most of their chances up front, whether it’s on the counter as they usually play or if Pinto tries to control more possession than usual through Acosta and Jorge Claros in the middle. They hope that with the growth they’ve shown as qualification progressed and the help of the sold-out Estadio Olimpico that a good result can be achieved.”It’s fundamental to win at home, although if it doesn’t happen we can win as visitors. There are two games, and we don’t have to lose our head this Friday. There are 180 minutes for qualification,” Honduras right back Brayan Beckeles said. “The whole group is really honored by the support of the fans during the whole qualification cycle. We’re going to give our very best to give happiness to everyone who is in the stadium and following us on television.”last_img read more