Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
by Dave Skretta, AP
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — There is a “Star Wars” expert running post patterns. The son of a pro wrestling great is learning the nuances of blocking. A cancer survivor is huddling with his position coaches.
Welcome to the most interesting rookie minicamp you’ll ever find.
There are 69 players running around in shorts on the Kansas City Chiefs practice fields this weekend. Nine of them were drafted and a near-locks to make the team. More than a dozen signed as undrafted free agents. The rest are merely in town for a tryout, hoping to catch the eye of coach Andy Reid or one of his assistants in the few short hours they have together.
All of them have stories. Some are more interesting than others.
Start with Chris Conley, the Chiefs’ third-round pick out of Georgia. The cerebral wide receiver spent last summer filming a 26-minute “Star Wars” fan film called “Retribution.” The film featuring his coach, Mark Richt, has been viewed more than a half-million times on YouTube.
“It was just something I did in the offseason, to keep myself occupied, and just to go do something different,” Conley said. “Decided to bring those two things together, `Star Wars’ and football, do something funny, a little comic relief in the offseason.”
Speaking of acting, tight end Steven Borden’s father, Steve Sr., was a pretty good one in his own right. You might know him better as Sting, the biggest star of World Championship Wrestling in the 1980s and `90s, and with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and the WWE more recently.
The younger Borden played collegiately at Kentucky and is trying out with the Chiefs.
On a far more serious side, there’s former Gardner-Webb standout Kenny Cook, who is trying to earn a wide receiver job in Kansas City after signing as a college free agent.
Before his sophomore year of high school, Cook’s mother Kimberly noticed a lump on the side of his neck. It turned out to be Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the same form of cancer for which Chiefs Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry is undergoing treatment. Cook wound up missing a full year of football while radiation and chemotherapy treatments went to work.
After a stint in junior college, he dazzled in the Football Championship Subdivision.
That’s just the start, though. Here are some more story lines at Chiefs minicamp:
– There are two defensive tackles from the football hotbed of Hawaii trying to make the team in former Montana standout Tonga Takai and Texas A&M-Commerce’s Charles Tuaau.
– Speaking of Tuaau, he was supposed to graduate on Saturday. But his athletic director at Commerce held a special commencement for him Thursday so that he could make the minicamp.
– There are several NFL legacies in minicamp. Running back Malcolm Agnew’s dad, Ray, played 11 seasons as a defensive tackle. Tight end Westlee Tonga’s brother-in-law is former running back Reno Mahe, who played five seasons for Reid with the Eagles in the 2000s.
– The Chiefs’ incumbent kicker, Cairo Santos, grew up playing soccer in Brazil. In minicamp is kicker Vincenzo D’Amato, who grew up playing the same sport in Sicily.
– Before starring at Southern Miss, defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches was born and raised in Belize. The last NFL player to hail from the tiny Central American nation? Bill Gutteron with the shortly-lived Los Angeles Buccaneers in 1926.
– Arguably the fastest player in minicamp is De’Vante Bausby, an undrafted cornerback from Pittsburg State. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds – slightly wind-aided – at his school’s pro day. By comparison, the NFL combine record is 4.24 seconds set by Chris Johnson.
“He’s a huge Chiefs fan,” Reid said of Bausby, “and a very energetic guy.”
– For the “US Weekly” crowd, former Vanderbilt long snapper Andrew East is the longtime boyfriend of Olympic gold-medal gymnast Shawn Johnson, while safety Justin Halley from Florida International is a professional model who has appeared on an edition of “Vogue.” The father of quarterback Michael Strauss founded MIA Shoes, which specializes in women’s footwear.
Most of these guys will never play a down in the NFL. In fact, most of them will be memories once the weekend is over, cast aside after unsuccessful tryouts.
At least they’ll have another interesting story to tell.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Yankees recalled Bryan Mitchell from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned fellow right-hander Jose Ramirez to the Triple-A club before Saturday night’s game against Kansas City.
New York will have to make another roster move before Sunday’s series finale to make room for Chris Capuano, who is coming off the disabled list to make the start. Capuano has been rehabbing from a quadriceps injury that he sustained in spring training.
The Yankees needed another starter after putting Chase Whitley on the disabled list Friday with a sprained right elbow. Whitley will see team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on Monday in New York to determine whether he needs Tommy John surgery.
Ramirez allowed four runs and three hits and two walks in one inning of relief Friday night.
by RB Fallstrom, AP
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Miguel Cabrera’s bat gave the Detroit Tigers a smashing start. His under-rated defense helped save them late.
Cabrera hit his 400th career home run and turned a nifty double play with a catch near the first base stands followed by an on-target throw in a 4-3, 10-inning victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
“He’s definitely the best hitter in baseball and he’s hands down the smartest player in baseball as well,” starter David Price said. “He’s pretty special.”
Cabrera’s milestone shot gave him the most homers by a Venezuelan-born player, passing Andres Galarraga. The solo shot came in the first inning just before a rain delay of 1 hour, 20 minutes.
“That means a lot to me,” Cabrera said about the milestone. “But I just want to win and play games.”
Nearly five hours later, Jose Iglesias had an RBI single for the go-ahead hit.
Cabrera has hit four homers in three games, 10 overall and 262 with Detroit, tying him with Willie Horton for fourth on the franchise list. Cabrera said he wasn’t sure if he got the 400th home run ball back.
Adrian Beltre of Texas hit his 400th homer Friday. Cabrera tied Beltre for 52nd place on the career list, with Duke Snider next at 407.
The Cardinals had a man on second with none out in the eighth when Cabrera caught a foul popup near the stands. He wheeled and threw out pinch runner Pete Kozma, who was trying to tag up and advance to third.
“It was a crazy play,” Cabrera said. “We know the Cardinals play aggressive and we’ve got to be ready for anything.”
“Now,” Kozma said, “I know he can make it.”
Price threw only a couple of pitches before the rain delay. He surrendered three homers, matching the total he’d allowed his first seven starts, but all were with the bases empty on changeups.
“It was some good swings on some pitches down the middle of the plate, and that’s what good hitters do,” Price said. “‘It’s a tough game.”
Matt Carpenter, Peter Bourjos and Jhonny Peralta connected, but the Cardinals made three costly base-running goofs in the final three innings.
Blaine Hardy (1-0) struck out two with a walk in the ninth and Joakim Soria finished for his 12th save in 12 chances. Detroit, which pasted St. Louis 10-4 in the opener, will go for a three-game interleague sweep on Sunday.
Iglesias, the eighth-place hitter, flied out with the bases loaded to end the third and popped out with two on to finish the fifth. He came through with two outs in the 10th against Matt Belisle (1-1).
J.D. Martinez drew a leadoff walk and Yoenis Cespedes followed with a single. Two outs later, Iglesias singled.
The Cardinals blew a chance to take the lead in the seventh. Jason Heyward stayed near second base, waiting to tag up, and could only reach third when Randal Grichuk’s flyball hit the wall for a double.
Heyward said “apparently on second base, it was the worst seat in the house for that one.”
“I looked at the ball, checked the outfielder and I was thinking to myself `This is so high I think it’s either going to be gone or caught at the wall,” Heyward added. “Obviously, the ball didn’t get caught.”
With the Cardinals down a run, Matt Holliday was out trying to stretch a single to two bases leading off the 10th.
Carpenter’s seventh homer tied it in the bottom of the first, on just the second at-bat after play resumed following the delay. Bourjos had been 1 for 11 against Price before putting the Cardinals ahead in the second with his first homer.
Tigers: Alfredo Simon (4-1, 3.05) was 2-0 in three starts against St. Louis last year while with Cincinnati.
Cardinals: Lance Lynn (2-3, 3.27) is 28-13 with a 2.83 ERA at home.
Tigers: Pitcher Shane Greene underwent an MRI exam and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said “concern is way down.” On Saturday, he was removed due to numbness in his pitching hand. Cespedes bent his glove thumb attempting a diving catch in the 10th.
Cardinals: Pitcher Jaime Garcia (shoulder) was back in St. Louis a day after throwing six innings in his second rehab start and could be close to rejoining the rotation.
by RB Fallstrom, AP
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals have activated outfielder Randal Grichuk from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.
Manager Mike Matheny hinted lefty Jaime Garcia may be close to joining the team, too. Garcia, who has yet to play after aggravating a shoulder injury in spring training, threw a six-inning rehab start Friday for Double-A Springfield.
“He had a smile on his face and excitement in his eye,” Matheny said. “He wants to pitch. Everything was there, so now we’ll see.”
Grichuk was batting leadoff against the Detroit Tigers.
Xavier Scruggs was optioned to Triple-A Memphis before Saturday’s game.
Grichuk was on the opening day roster and had been on the DL since April 17 with a lower back strain. He was 2 for 10 with a homer and two RBIs in six games.
He was 6 for 10 in three games at extended spring training and homered on Friday.
“I felt good down there,” Grichuk said. “Obviously, the pitching is nowhere near up here. Hopefully I’m going to take that confidence into the game.”
Scruggs flied out as a pinch hitter Friday in his only at-bat with St. Louis.
by RB Fallstrom, AP
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Carlos Martinez made progress. The St. Louis Cardinals bullpen had nothing.
Miguel Cabrera ended a season-long slump in night games with a two-run homer and two singles and the Detroit Tigers also got homers from Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Martinez, jumping on St. Louis late in a 10-4 victory Friday night.
“It was a little bit of an oddity for us, with our bullpen not being able to do what they’ve been doing,” manager Mike Matheny said.
Martinez matched his season best with eight strikeouts, but was lifted after the Tigers got two hits to open the sixth and his pitch count at 103. He gave up seven runs each of his previous two starts but Matheny thought the pitcher had his best sinker of the season.
“He’s real close. Just can’t average 20 pitches an inning,” Matheny said. “It’s just not going to work out real well. The stuff is there, it looks good, we’re just going to have to be more on the plate.”
St. Louis relievers entered with a 1.73 ERA, but Mitch Harris, Miguel Socolovich and Seth Maness all gave up runs. Maness surrendered four in the ninth and has a 5.52 ERA.
“He typically lives on the corners and we want him to stay on that path, not giving up free bases,” Matheny said. “He’ll get there. Right now, it’s a tough time.”
Martinez struck out with the bases loaded to end the St. Louis second and bunted into the third out with two on to end the fourth. Mark Reynolds fanned on a pitch in his eyes with two on to end the fifth with Detroit leading 2-0.
Cabrera entered batting just .158 with no homers and one RBI in 57 at-bats at night – he’s hit .471 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 68 at-bats by day. Manager Brad Ausmus called those numbers an “anomaly” before the game.
Cabrera hit his 399th career homer and third in two games in the seventh inning off Harris, tying Andres Galarraga for most by a Venezuelan-born player, and Martinez followed with his eighth homer to make it 5-0.
Shane Greene (4-2) allowed five hits in five scoreless innings before being removed due to numbness in his pitching arm.
Tigers leadoff man Anthony Gose had three hits and an RBI.
Jhonny Peralta and Jason Heyward hit two-run homers in the late innings for Cardinals.
Cespedes hit his fifth homer off Carlos Martinez (3-2) in the second and added a two-run double in the ninth. Gose tripled and scored on Ian Kinsler’s sacrifice fly in the fifth and added two singles, giving him seven hits the last two games.
Tigers: David Price got two extra days between starts after injuring a hamstring when he stepped on a bat backing up a play behind the plate. “If I had to stay on five days, if it was the playoffs or the World Series or something and I needed to pitch, I would have been out there,” Price said.
Cardinals: Tyler Lyons makes his third start of the season. He’s 0-3 with a 6.81 ERA in 10 career games at home, six of them starts.
Tigers: Justin Verlander, on the DL with a triceps strain since the start of the season, threw 35 pitches in the bullpen.
Cardinals: Jaime Garcia (shoulder) made his second rehab start, allowing two earned runs in six innings with six strikeouts for Double-A Springfield. … OF Randal Grichuk (back) homered in extended spring training and was on his way to St. Louis, and could be activated Saturday.
by Dave Skretta, AP
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Royals were a couple of weeks into spring training and veteran right-hander Chris Young was still on the market when general manager Dayton Moore approached manager Ned Yost one day and asked whether they should try signing him.
Yost spent a few seconds recalling the way Young shut down the Royals last season, when he was with Seattle, and replied: “Heck yeah. Let’s go get him.”
Signed to provide bullpen support, Young made another strong case to have a permanent spot in the rotation Friday night. He held down the Yankees into the sixth inning, and backed by plenty of offense from Lorenzo Cain and Kendrys Morales, helped Kansas City to a 12-1 victory.
“I just tried to hold the game close and the guys came through,” Young said.
Cain had a career-high five RBIs, Morales drove in three more runs and just about everyone in the Kansas City lineup took their shots against Yankees starter Michael Pineda. The result was a dominant win to open a three-game set between division leaders.
“We swung the bat well as a team tonight,” Cain said. “That’s all you can ask for.”
Young (3-0) allowed just four hits and two walks over 5 2-3 innings in his third solid spot start. The 6-foot-10 veteran is replacing injured Jason Vargas in the rotation.
“We just take it day by day,” Yost said, when asked about his rotation going forward. “If we run into an issue in a certain area, we definitely have him available.”
Pineda (5-1), coming off a masterful 16-strikeout performance against Baltimore, only struck out one while matching a career worst with 10 hits allowed. Pineda was responsible for five runs in 5 1-3 innings, matching a season high set in a win over the Orioles last month.
“I felt great before the game,” he said. “I go out there and do my best to win the game. Sometimes it happens. I’m keeping my head up, continue working and be ready for next time.”
Pineda hung tough through the first five innings, the only damage an RBI single by Cain in the first inning and a sacrifice fly by the Royals outfielder in the fourth.
Brian McCann had a sacrifice fly for New York in the top of the fourth inning.
Everything unraveled for the AL East-leading Yankees in the fifth, though. The Royals sent 11 batters to the plate, pounded out six hits and churned through Pineda and two relievers.
Omar Infante and Paulo Orlando drove in runs to start the onslaught, and Cain added a two-run single off Justin Wilson later in the inning. By the time Morales and Alex Gordon drove in runs, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was probably getting fatigued walking to the mound.
Jose Ramirez, just recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, finally got the Yankees out of the inning. But by then, the AL Central-leading Royals had pushed their lead to 8-1.
The only drama left was whether Mike Moustakas would hit for the cycle.
The Kansas City third baseman tripled, doubled and singled his first three times at bat. He grounded out in the sixth, but brought a crowd of 34,584 to its feet when he sent a fly ball down the left-field line in the seventh that bounced just a few feet from the top of the wall.
He wound up with an RBI double, giving him four hits for the fourth time in his career.
“We just played a great game tonight,” Moustakas said. “Cycle or no cycle, we just played a really good game.”
The Royals’ Eric Hosmer had a single in the fifth inning, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. … The Yankees’ Jacoby Ellsbury went 0 for 2 with a pair of walks. He had hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games.
Yankees: RHP Chase Whitley (elbow sprain) went on the DL. He will be evaluated again by team physician Christopher Ahmad on Monday before deciding whether to have Tommy John surgery. … RHP Masahiro Tanaka (wrist tendinitis) threw 35 pitches in the bullpen before the game. The Yankees still have not set a date for a rehab assignment.
Royals: RF Alex Rios (fractured hand) continues to hit off a tee, though it’s unclear when he will return. … Vargas played catch before the game. He expects to throw a bullpen session soon.
Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (1-5) is coming off his first win of the season at Tampa Bay.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy (2-2) tries to bounce back from two straight lousy starts.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The sides have bitterly argued in the court of public opinion. Now Roger Goodell plans to try to personally settle whether Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady deserves a four-game suspension for using deflated footballs.
The NFL commissioner decided Thursday night to take up an appeal for the New England Patriots quarterback, a move allowed under the collective bargaining agreement despite the wishes of union officials who wanted Goodell to appoint a neutral arbitrator for the case.
Goodell will review the punishment handed down by NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. He’ll decide whether to keep the four-game suspension, reduce it or eliminate it.
Goodell’s denial of the union’s wishes was just the last power play on a day filled with outward campaigning on an issue that started months ago as a backchannel complaint.
Hours earlier, the club went on the offensive with a 20,000-word online rebuttal by its lawyers to the 243-page report that led to the suspension. It came two days after a conference call by attorney Ted Wells, who headed the NFL investigation, in which, in a sometimes rising voice, he challenged criticism from Brady’s agent, Donald Yee.
All that heated air over a few pounds per square inch of air inside some footballs.
Goodell was widely viewed as too lenient when he initially suspended Ray Rice for two games last season for hitting his fiancee, now his wife. So the public focus was sharp to see if the league would go easy on the Patriots, owned by Goodell’s close confidant Robert Kraft. Goodell attended a party at Kraft’s home the weekend of the Patriots’ 45-7 win over Indianapolis in which the Colts complained about the deflated footballs.
The punishment – including a $1 million fine for the Patriots – may have improved Goodell’s standing with 31 of the NFL’s 32 owners.
The team has not said if it will appeal its penalties, which also include losing a first-round draft pick next year and a fourth-rounder in 2017. The deadline to appeal is May 21.
Goodell remains in the middle.
The league’s collective bargaining agreement stipulates that he or a person he designates will decide the appeal. The players union said in a news release that “given the NFL’s history of inconsistency and arbitrary decisions in disciplinary matters, it is only fair that a neutral arbitrator hear this appeal.”
It must be heard within 10 days of its filing.
The union did not detail the basis for the appeal. But the online statement by Patriots attorney Daniel Goldberg disputed conclusions of the Wells Report on matters of science, logic and law.
He wrote that those conclusions are “at best, incomplete, incorrect and lack context.”
Goldberg represented the team and was present during all interviews of team personnel. Patriots spokesman Stacey James confirmed that the site wellsreportcontext.com was genuine and “approved/supported by the team.”
Wells concluded that Brady was “at least generally aware” of plans by two team employees to prepare balls to his liking, below the league-mandated minimum. The NFL requires a range of 12.5-13.5 pounds per square inch. Footballs with less pressure can be easier to grip and catch and some quarterbacks prefer those with less air.
The team’s rebuttal presented its own science to explain the loss of pressure in a more innocuous way.
It also says increased communication between Brady and the ballboys after the scandal broke were just normal expressions of concern, rather than evidence of the quarterback’s guilt.
Here are some more claims and counter-claims in the Wells report and the Patriots’ rebuttal:
The NFL says: Texts in which locker room attendant Jim McNally refers to himself as “the deflator” indicate he was taking air out of footballs after they were inspected by game officials. His texts with equipment assistant John Jastremski also include a reference to providing Jastremski with a needle.
The team says: McNally used the term “deflator” to refer to his desire to lose weight, as in the text, “deflate and give somebody that jacket.” The needle was necessary because McNally was sometimes responsible for getting an inflation needle to officials for pregame testing.
The NFL says: Footballs provided by the Patriots lost more air pressure between the pregame test and halftime than could be explained by non-nefarious reasons.
The team says: The league cherry-picked readings from two different gauges to create the biggest gap between pregame and halftime measurements. That overshadowed a difference in air pressure in some balls that could be explained by atmospheric conditions.
“The most fundamental issue in this matter is: DOES SCIENCE EXPLAIN THE LOSS OF PSI IN THE PATRIOTS FOOTBALLS?” Goldberg wrote before concluding, also in all capital letters, that it does.
WHO IS “HE”?
The NFL says: It’s Brady. A text message from Jastremski to McNally says: “Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done.”
The Patriots say: It’s a leap of logic to conclude that the stress was related to football deflation. The words refer, Goldberg wrote, to “Mr. Jastremski’s friend, as the investigators were told, and the conversation involved issues relating to Mr. McNally’s stress relating to reselling family tickets.”
by Tom Withers, AP
CLEVELAND (AP) — Matt Carpenter’s first three at-bats were miserable, forgettable and completely unproductive.
He more than made up for them with one swing.
Carpenter hit a two-run homer off reliever Marc Rzepczynski in the eighth inning after Cleveland replaced starter Trevor Bauer, rallying the St. Louis Cardinals to a 2-1 win over the Indians on Thursday.
Bauer struck out Carpenter three times and blanked St. Louis on four hits over 7 1-3 innings before giving up a one-out walk to Peter Bourjos. Indians manager Terry Francona brought in the left-handed Rzepczynski (1-1) to face Carpenter, a lefty, who drove a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right-center – just above outfielder Michael Bourn’s glove – to help the Cardinals win the series after being overpowered by Corey Kluber on Wednesday night.
“Obviously, I wasn’t happy with the way the day was going,” Carpenter said. “What turned it around for me was the Bourjos at-bat. That kind of rejuvenated me. I knew I needed to follow up with another good at-bat and we had a chance to maybe do something. I was able to lay off a couple of tough sinkers and get one up in the zone.”
It’s the first homer Rzepczysnki has given up to a left-handed hitter since June 12, 2012, when he was with the Cardinals.
“My job is to get that guy out,” Rzepczynski. “I fell behind with a couple good sinkers that he laid off. And then I tried to go again and it’s probably the straightest ball I’ve thrown in a long time.”
Kevin Siegrist (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings, and Trevor Rosenthal put the tying run on with one out in the ninth before striking out pinch-hitter Zach Walters and Jason Kipnis for his 12th save.
Michael Brantley homered for the Indians, who haven’t won consecutive games since April 8-9.
Following Kluber’s 18-strikeout performance, Bauer fanned 10, allowed just four hits and deserved a better fate. He kicked the dirt on the mound in frustration after walking Peter Bourjos on his 110th pitch, knowing Francona was coming to get him. Carpenter made things worse with his sixth homer, a shot that helped ease the sting for the Cardinals, who struck out 30 times in two games.
Carpenter recently sat out a three-game series in Pittsburgh with what the Cardinals described as “extreme fatigue.” Carpenter had been dizzy and light-headed in the days leading up to staying behind when the team traveled.
“It feels great,” Carpenter said. “I hate not being out here every day, missing time. Any chance you can come out here play and not only help us win a game but win a series, it’s a big deal. I’m pretty happy with the way it played out.”
Brantley snapped a scoreless tie with his fourth homer to open the sixth against Michael Wacha, who settled in after two shaky innings and gave up five hits in five-plus innings.
The Indians had other scoring chances, but had three runners thrown out, including two on rundowns between third and home.
Cleveland’s hitters made Wacha work, forcing him to throw 59 pitches in the first two innings. However, the Indians wasted a one-out triple by Michael Bourn in the second with a poorly executed bunt by Jose Ramirez. Bourn broke late on the apparent squeeze and got tagged out in a rundown.
St. Louis didn’t fare any better against Bauer, who followed Kluber’s gem with his best since holding Houston without a hit for six innings in his season debut.
“We faced some really tough pitching,” Carpenter said. “They were nasty. Somehow we found a way to win two.”
The Cardinals are 9-1-1 in series and improved to 5-0 in games on Thursday.
NO HOLLIDAY OFF
Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday talked himself into the lineup as DH after getting hit on the left elbow by Kluber. Holliday has reached base safely in 32 straight games, the longest streak in the majors this season and the third longest to start a season in club history. Albert Pujols had a 42-game streak in 2008 and 33-gamer in 2005.
Cardinals: OF Jon Jay went on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left wrist. Jay had surgery on the wrist in October, and he’s hoping some rest will alleviate soreness.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (3-1), who has posted a 14.00 ERA in his past two starts, opens a three-game series in Detroit. He has never faced the Tigers.
Indians: LHP Bruce Chen (0-1) tries to bounce back from a rocky debut with Cleveland, the veteran’s 11th team, in the opener of a three-game series at Texas.
by Tom Withers, AP
CLEVELAND (AP) — Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter had three at-bats against Corey Kluber. Twice he failed to make contact.
He wasn’t alone.
Kluber struck out 18 – the most by an AL pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1998 – and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Jhonny Peralta singled with two outs as the Cleveland Indians downed St. Louis 2-0 on Wednesday night.
Kluber (1-5) dominated the Cardinals, getting his first win this season in style. He matched Hall of Famer Bob Feller’s 77-year-old club record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game and held a team with baseball’s best record to a measly single.
“I think we got a taste of why he won the Cy Young last year,” said Carpenter, who went 0 for 3 and struck out twice against the right-hander. “His numbers this season don’t reflect how good of a pitcher he is. He was as good, if not better, than anybody I’ve ever faced in the big leagues.”
The Cardinals barely got good wood on the ball against Kluber, who didn’t walk a batter and coasted through St. Louis’ lineup, striking out the side in three innings. With a chance to break the major league mark of 20 strikeouts shared by Clemens and Kerry Wood, Kluber was pulled after eight innings and 113 pitches for closer Cody Allen, who struck out one while getting his fifth save in a perfect ninth.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was more than impressed with Kluber, who struck out six straight in one span and retired 18 in a row after hitting Matt Holliday on the left elbow in the first.
“You don’t strike out that many guys if you’re not on top of your game,” Matheny said. “He made pitches all night long. He had good velocity without much effort. It was getting on guys and he was climbing the ladder and getting high strikes. His breaking stuff was very sharp. He locates everything and didn’t make a lot of mistakes.”
The Indians haven’t had a no-hitter since Len Barker’s perfect game on May 15, 1981, and Cleveland hasn’t had much to celebrate so far in 2015.
Kluber was seven outs away when Peralta grounded a 2-0 pitch through the middle.
“That’s the only way we could get a hit,” Peralta said. “On 2-0, I knew he was coming with a fastball. He threw right in the middle right there.”
Kluber came in 0-5 with a 5.04 ERA, but finally got his first win in his eighth start. Relying heavily on a fastball in the mid-90s, the right-hander, who recently shaved off his beard as a Mother’s Day gift for his wife, Amanda, nailed Holliday with a 94 mph fastball, dropping the outfielder to one knee and knocking him from the game.
X-rays taken on Holliday were negative and Matheny said the slugger is day to day.
Holliday’s plunking touched off a back-and-forth of tight pitches between the teams.
When Cardinals starter John Lackey (2-2) retaliated for Holliday and hit Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis in the fourth, plate umpire Mike Everitt issued warnings to both dugouts, prompting Indians manager Terry Francona to come out and argue.
Francona was quickly ejected, but Kipnis was hit again in the sixth by reliever Randy Choate to load the bases. Kipnis singled in the eighth and made sure the Cardinals saw him flip his bat as he headed toward first.
Lackey, who gave up RBI singles to Brandon Moss and David Murphy in the first, felt Kluber had better control than to have a pitch strike Holliday.
“He was throwing a no-hitter,” he said. “It looked like he knew where it was going pretty good.”
Kluber’s 18 strikeouts are the most by one pitcher against a St. Louis team. Brooklyn’s Dazzy Vance struck out 17 Cardinals in 1925.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina (upper back stiffness) started Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s game in the ninth inning. OF Jon Jay (sore thumb) didn’t start for the third straight game.
Indians: LHP TJ House (sore shoulder) will make a minor league rehab start at Class-A Lake County on Friday. C Yan Gomes (sprained right knee) could see action at designated hitter for Lake County this weekend. Gomes has been out since April 11, injured in a home-plate collision in the second home game.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (5-0) will start Thursday’s series finale and look to remain unbeaten in his seventh start. His five-game winning streak is second best in the majors, trailing only Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, who has won six straight.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (2-1) lost his first decision of the season in his last start against Minnesota. He hasn’t won since April 15 against the White Sox, his second start of the season.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have signed free agent inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton to a one-year contract.
The 5-foot-11, 245-pound Sharpton has played five seasons in the NFL, the first four with the Houston Texans and last year with the Chicago Bears.
He has appeared in 47 games, 21 as a starter.
The Cardinals also signed second-round pick Markus Golden and fourth-round selection Rodney Gunter to four-year contracts Wednesday.
Golden, a defensive end from Missouri, was the 58th overall pick. Last season, he had 78 tackles, 10 sacks, three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles in 13 games.
Gunter, a linebacker from Delaware State, was the 116th overall selection.