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of third spot and the final Champions
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TORONTO – Jose Bautista hit a home run (his 15th), threw a runner out trying to score, lined into a triple play and was denied a catch down the right field line thanks to fan interference (although the hitter, Tony Cruz, was ruled out when the Blue Jays challenged the ruling). All in a nights work for the slugger as the Jays won a sixth-straight game, 3-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals. “I think its got to be the most eventful game Ive ever had in my career,” said Bautista. “Id like to see if anybody could find somebody else to have a game with that combination of plays. Thatd be pretty awesome.” Whats becoming clearer as the days go by is that this is a good Blue Jays team. Mediocre or bad teams dont win nine in a row, drop a couple and then respond with another win streak thats now reached six. Torontos been victorious in 20 of its last 24 games, is at or near the top of the sports key offensive statistical categories and continues to get solid starting pitching and defence. “Were playing great baseball and were enjoying a great couple of months and we need to keep doing that so we can get to the playoffs,” said Bautista. “We just need to stay with the consistency. Same approach, same effort that were putting forward every single night and its a lot of fun when youre winning. Its the first time Ive ever experienced anything like this at this level so Im enjoying it a lot as well.” Marcus Stroman won his second-straight start and improved his big league record to 3-0, hurling six-plus innings of one-run ball. After a shaky start - he allowed the run in the first, and backed by strong defensive plays by Bautista and Brett Lawrie - Stroman settled in and ended up striking out seven Cardinals. His curveball, which confounded the Royals last Saturday, made for more misery for another Missouri-based team. “Its been huge just because I dont feel like I necessarily have to throw a fastball in a fastball count,” said Stroman. “Just being able to mix it up and keep guys off balance has been pretty good this year.” When Stroman was lifted by manager John Gibbons in the seventh, the fans gave him a standing ovation. “Yeah, its pretty special,” said Stroman. “I tried to do my best tough guy impersonation and tried not to smile but it was definitely pretty special walking off. Just to go out there and put my team in a position to win was awesome.” 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF ROGERS CENTRE Jimmy Key threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Ernie Whitt on Friday night. The two formed the battery for the first ever pitch thrown at SkyDome, a strike to Milwaukees Paul Molitor on June 5, 1989. It was a trip down memory lane in a stadium that so often is unfairly maligned. A technological wonder when it was built, some still see it that way. “Its a nice piece of architecture,” said Jose Bautista. “You come in here and you expect it to be kind of old and beat down and look out of place because its so old but it actually looks pretty modern from the outside looking in. I was surprised the first time I saw it. I was expecting something different. I was pleasantly surprised.” Fans old enough to remember that June night in 1989 and the four Blue Jays playoff appearances in the SkyDomes first five years may have a different opinion of the facility than the younger crowd thats yet to experience a winner. Still, fond memories abound, even those of the more recent variety. “Itd have to be probably the day that I hit the 50th home run,” said Bautista of September 24, 2010. “It was a pretty nice crowd in a day game and one of the unique features of the stadium was highlighted that day, you know, open roof on a beautiful day.” Only Cito Gaston has managed more games in Rogers Centre/SkyDome than John Gibbons. “Its an entertaining place,” said Gibbons. “Exciting, fans come here because some crazy things can happen. The ball flies. Youve got some bouncy turf. I really enjoy this place. One thing youre guaranteed, youre always going to have a game because they can close that roof.” NO QUIT When a team has won six in a row, 15 of 17 and 20 of 24 like the Blue Jays have after Fridays action, chances are resiliency is one of its characteristics. The clubs star player sees it. “Its something that I always thought, even from last year, that we never give up,” said Bautista. “We had a lot of tough games last year. We lost a lot of close games and we battled back from some blowouts and came close, not quite enough to come out with a win. I always noted that about this team where we never give up and we always fight.” Amid the wreckage of last years lost season, 32 of Torontos 74 victories were comeback wins. So far this season, the Blue Jays have 13 come-from-behind victories. RASMUS AND SANTOS UPDATES Centrefielder Colby Rasmus is nearing a return to game action as he recovers from a right hamstring injury. “Colbys doing baseball activities down (in Florida),” said Gibbons. “We figure at the beginning of the week hell probably get into a game.” Rasmus has been on the disabled list since May 13. What he originally believed wouldnt require a DL stint has turned into a near-month absence, a reminder of how uncertain muscle injuries can be. Sergio Santos threw a bullpen session before Thursdays game in Detroit. Gibbons wasnt clear on the plan moving forward. Earlier in the week the plan was for Santos to throw sides on Thursday (he did) and on Sunday and if he passed both tests, hed leave for Buffalo and a rehab assignment perhaps as early as Monday. http://www.authenticbuccaneersshop.com/Mike-Evans-Buccaneers-Jersey . According to Arthur Staple of Newsday, Snow offered his disappointment about the knee injury that sidelined his best player for the remainder of the season. "Are the IIHF or IOC going to reimburse our season ticket holders now? Its a joke. Austin Seferian-Jenkins Jersey . -- Xavier Thames dropped in 3s from deep, finessed floaters in the lane and carried San Diego State the way he did all season as the Mountain West player of the year. http://www.authenticbuccaneersshop.com/Gerald-Mccoy-Buccaneers-Jersey. Captain Munnerlyn is ready to fill those shoes. The Vikings agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the free agent cornerback on Thursday, continuing the teams aggressive pursuit of defensive help in free agency. Gerald McCoy Kids Jersey . TO2015, the organizing committee of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Games, announced Friday that CEO Ian Troop was leaving the organization and will be replaced by Saad Rafi, a former Ontario deputy minister of health. Sources within TO2015 said Troops departure was not unexpected. There have been ongoing tensions between the Games organization and the province, which is responsible for the operational costs of the multi-sport competition that will bring about 10,000 athletes from the Americas to compete in 36 Pan Am and 15 Parapan sports. Gerald McCoy Jersey For Sale . With the two sides making little progress over the last six months, however, it appears the players union is prepared for another deadlock. "The (PAs strike) ballots are ready to be mailed out," said a source with knowledge of the negotiations, but who spoke on conditions of anonymity. Sources have told TSN that the CFLPA has steadily prepared for the possibility of a strike vote for weeks, by accumulating addresses of its members, and reviewing labour laws in provinces with CFL teams.MILAN, Italy -- Teenage forward Domenico Berardi scored his third hat trick of the season to help Sassuolo win 4-3 at high-flying Fiorentina on Tuesday and boost its hopes of Serie A survival. The 19-year-old Berardi scored all his goals in the first half to help lift his club out of the bottom three. "It was a positive attitude but were not yet safe," Sassuolo coach Eusebio Di Francesco said. "We have two fundamental games left and we cant give up." "Berardi is a young player who still makes some naive mistakes of a 19-year-old. He has a strong character and the right personality to do what he does in big games." The teenager also netted three times against Sampdoria and scored four against AC Milan in what proved to be Massimiliano Allegris final match in charge. Italy forward Giuseppe Rossi made his first league appearance since January 5 and marked his return from injury with a goal which almost inspired Fiorentina to an astonishing comeback. The New Jersey-born forward will have boosted his chances of making Italys World Cup squad. "Apart from the final result, it was a good match on our part," Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said. "We should be proud of our reaction on the second half. "Everyone hopes Rossi will be at the World Cup, especially him and he is improving physically. But obviously the choice doesnt depend on me." Fiorentina remained fourth while Sassuolo moved two points and two places above the drop zone. Napoli comfortably beat 10-man Cagliari 3-0 in the late match. Fiorentina goalkeeper Antonio Rosati was making his Serie A debut and he pulled off a couple of decent saves before Sassuolo opened the scoring with a 23rd-minute penalty following a handball by Borja Valero. Berardi doubled his tally nine minutes later, collecting Niicola Sansones threaded pass before firing in at the near post.dddddddddddd Rosati got a hand to the ball but couldnt prevent it from squirming through. The on-loan Juventus forward completed his hat trick three minutes from halftime with his 16th goal in his debut Serie A season. Substitute Joaquin was introduced early in the second half for Fiorentina and he had an immediate impact, winning the penalty which Gonzalo Rodriguez converted. Sansone restored Sassuolos three-goal advantage before Rossi came on in the 65th minute and scored seven minutes later after a swift one-two with Valero. Coincidentally, Rossis last goal came against Sassuolo. Juan Cuadrado reduced the deficit still further 15 minutes from time and Sassuolo goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo pulled off a stunning save to prevent Rossi from getting the equalizer, while Valero had a strike ruled out for offside deep in stoppage time. Fiorentinas defeat mathematically assured Napoli of third spot and the final Champions League berth but the newly-crowned Italian Cup champion was keen to celebrate in style. The cup was paraded before kickoff though there was muted celebration as thoughts were with Ciro Esposito, the fan injured in the violence before Saturdays match. There were banners in support of Esposito, who remains in critical condition. Dries Mertens broke the deadlock with a penalty on his 27th birthday and Goran Pandev doubled Napolis advantage shortly before halftime. Marek Hamsik thumped a second penalty against the crossbar after Pandev had been fouled by Marco Silvestri. The goalkeeper was dismissed in that incident, leaving Cagliari at a numerical disadvantage for more than half an hour. Napoli did score a third two minutes later when Blerim Dzemaili tapped in a rebound after Vlada Avramov could only parry Pandevs effort. ' ' '