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 Assunto da Mensagem: KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Alcides Escobar pumped his fist. Jarrod
 Mensagem Enviado: 15 Maio 2019 02:58 
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Alcides Escobar pumped his fist. Jarrod Dyson did a backflip. And for the first time in more than a decade, the Kansas City Royals were in first place in mid-August. Yordano Ventura outpitched Sonny Gray in a matchup of talented young starters Monday night, and Escobar drove in the go-ahead run as Kansas City beat the Oakland Athletics 3-2 to take over the AL Central lead from Detroit with its eighth consecutive victory. "You want to be in first place. Our goal was to get back to first place," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Now our goal is to stay in first place." The Royals trailed the Tigers by eight games on July 21, but their 16th win in 19 games wiped away the deficit and gave them the lead at the latest point in a season since 2003. "Were playing great," said Escobar, who drove in a run in the second inning before his two-out single off Gray (12-6) in the seventh gave Kansas City the lead for good. Ventura lasted through sixth innings before giving way to Kelvin Herrera (3-2), who tossed a spotless seventh. Wade Davis breezed through the eighth and Greg Holland worked the ninth for his 35th save, though it didnt come without a little drama. Josh Donaldson led off the ninth with a single, the first hit by the Athletics since the second inning, and Brandon Moss drew a walk. But after a brief conference on the mound, Holland got Derek Norris to bounce into a double play and Stephen Vogt to fly out to end the game. "He has the ability to focus pitch to pitch, which good closers can do," Yost said. "You get first and second with his stuff, you just have a feeling hes going to get out of it." Kansas City put pressure on right from the start, when Dyson and Omar Infante opened the game with back-to-back singles. Gray might have escaped the jam, though, if right fielder Josh Reddick hadnt flubbed a routine throw to the infield after Infantes hit. It allowed Dyson to reach third base easily, and he scored on Salvador Perezs double-play groundout. "Its pretty embarrassing," Reddick said, "especially since it cost us a run. And we end up losing by one run, so it doesnt make your feel any better." After Escobar made it 2-0 in th second, Oakland answered with some help from Ventura, who worked to overcome command problems most of the night. John Jaso led off with a single, Coco Crisp worked a walk and Donaldson earned another free pass to load the bases with two outs. Moss hit a full-count pitch up the middle to score both runners and knot the game. Yost pulled Ventura after a double play got the rookie right-hander through the sixth. And when Gray faltered in the seventh and Kansas City took the lead, one of the stingiest bullpens in baseball made sure the smallest of margins was enough. "Those three guys at the end are as good as you get," As manager Bob Melvin said. "They dont worry about righty-lefty. They feel when they get to the seventh inning with a lead, they feel pretty good about it." LEADERS OF THE PACK The Royals have not trailed since the first inning of Thursdays game in Arizona, a span of 44 innings. "Theres just a real confidence right now when we step on the field," Yost said. BULLISH BULLPENS Herrera has worked 17 1-3 consecutive scoreless dating to June 27. Thats the third-longest stretch in the majors behind Davis, who has gone 17 2-3 innings, and the As Ryan Cook, who has gone 19 innings. Grey AREA Gray struck out a career-low two batters while losing to Kansas City for the second time in his young career. The only other team hes lost to twice is Baltimore. TRAINERS ROOM Athletics: SS Jed Lowrie was back in the starting lineup. Hes missed time recently with a bruised right index finger. Royals: 1B Eric Hosmer continues to wear a brace on his right hand after breaking his third metacarpal. He hopes to return in September. UP NEXT LHP Jon Lester, who beat the Royals in his first start with Oakland, tries to move to 3-0 since arriving from Boston in a July 31 trade. Kansas City counters with RHP Jeremy Guthrie. M.J. Stewart Jersey . Johnny Manziel, college footballs most entertaining player with the reputation for pulling off magical plays, was selected with the No. Jason Pierre-Paul Jersey . -- Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman is undergoing surgery to repair a broken bone above his left eye but has no other serious injuries after being hit in the face by a line drive in a spring training game. http://www.thebuccaneersfansclub.com/Bl ... Ii-Jersey/. - The Denver Broncos kept rookie wide receiver Tavarres King from joining the Green Bay Packers by promoting him to their active roster Tuesday. Alex Cappa Buccaneers Jersey . -- Canadian mens rugby coach Kieran Crowley has made four changes to his starting roster for Saturdays Pacific Nations Cup clash against the United States. Vinny Curry Buccaneers Jersey . -- Darrelle Revis says at least 26 teams called after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City is having no problem adjusting to the occasional game without All-Start Russell Westbrook. The Thunder cruised to a 95-73 win over struggling Utah on Sunday night while their star point guard took the night off to rest his surgically repaired right knee. They did so behind 19 points from Kevin Durant, as well as a 17-point, 11-rebound effort from Serge Ibaka -- stretching their lead to as many as 37 points in the third quarter before finishing the game out with reserves. "We just wanted to play our game," Durant said. "No matter whos on the floor, we want to execute a game plan on both ends. "... Of course, we would love to have Russell out, but everybody stepped up." Durant sat out the fourth quarter for Oklahoma City (9-3), which won its fifth straight overall and sixth straight at home to open the season, its best opening stretch since moving from Seattle. Westbrook missed his first action since sitting for the seasons opening two games while recovering from the second of two off-season knee surgeries. Hes expected back when the Thunder host Western Conference leader San Antonio on Wednesday. Utah (1-14), which has lost six straight games, was led by 10 points apiece from Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert. The Jazz looked for a spark in the lineup by starting former Michigan standout Trey Burke, the ninth overall pick in the June draft. Burke, playing in his third game since returning from surgery on his right index finger, struggled throughout -- finishing with four points on 2-of-9 shooting. Utah needed a 30-point fourth quarter to avoid its lowest point total of the season. As it was, the Jazz equaled their worst output of the season, and they nearly equaled their previous worst loss of 24 points -- which has happened twice this season. Utah, which shot just 39.4 per cent (28 of 71), is winless on the road at 0-9. Its the only Western Conference team without a road win, and the start is the worst on the road for the Jazz since opening the 1979-80 season 0-11 away from home. "Were trying to build who we are in this league with this group of guys, and weve got to have more of a sense of urgency to start a game, especially aagainst a team thats this good," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said.dddddddddddd The game was third straight at home for Oklahoma City, which is in the middle of six-game home stand. Playing the Jazz provided the perfect opportunity for Thunder coach Scott Brooks to give Westbrook five straight nights off. The Thunder took a 75-38 lead late in the third quarter after a 3-pointer by Thabo Sefolosha, who finished with nine points, and they led 47-30 at halftime. "Our philosophy is like everybody else; we want to make teams take tough shots, and I thought we did that tonight," Brooks said. Reggie Jackson -- starting in place of Westbrook -- finished with 10 points. Jeremy Lamb added 15 points and Perry Jones had 13 off the Oklahoma City bench, which finished with a combined 36 points. "We trust them, we believe in them, and they believe in themselves," Sefolosha said. "Theyre playing extremely well, theyre improving, working really hard, all of them on their game and it shows." Oklahoma City struggled in the early going without Westbrook, hitting just one of its first eight shots. The cold shooting was short lived for the NBAs sixth-highest scoring team, which entered the game averaging 104.3 points per game. Even without their All-Star point guard, the Thunder hit 17 of their next 29 shots and finished the first half 18 of 37 (48.6 per cent) from the field. They led by as many as 20 points in the half, taking a 47-27 lead after back-to-back baskets by Ibaka, and the Jazz -- 29th in the league in scoring -- offered little resistance. Utah shot just 33.3 per cent (13 of 39) in the first half. "When youre not scoring, it puts a lot of pressure on your defence to stop a team to keep the game close," Jazz forward Marvin Williams said. "Unfortunately for us, the team we had to stop was Oklahoma City. Thats how a game can kind of get away from you pretty quickly." NOTES: The streak of Oklahoma City fans hitting halftime shots for $20,000 ended at two after a fan air-balled his second-quarter attempt. ... Thunder fans have hit five half-court shots during the 2013 calendar year ... Oklahoma City was 34-7 at home last season. 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