by Will Graves, AP Sports
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A draining road trip ended with a little redemption and one pretty goal for the St. Louis Blues.
Robert Bortuzzo keyed a two-goal rally against his former team, and Alexander Steen’s deft redirect off a feed from Zbynek Michalek – himself a former Penguin – sent St. Louis to a 3-2 overtime victory at Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
The Central Division-leading Blues stopped a three-game losing streak and finished a 10-day, six-game swing through western Canada and points east with three wins and eight points in all.
One brilliant dart to the net by Steen provided the winner. The forward battled for the puck in the corner, and then slipped it across the ice to Michalek at the right point before beating Pittsburgh defenseman Ben Lovejoy to the middle. The timing was perfect. Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had no chance as St. Louis’ 35th and final shot of the night slipped by him.
“We almost made eye contact, so I knew it was coming and it was right down on my stick,” Steen said. “It was a great play by (Michalek).”
Jake Allen stopped 22 shots for St. Louis, which received unexpected offensive contributions from two grinders who began the season with Pittsburgh.
The Penguins traded Marcel Goc to the Blues in January for Maxim Lapierre and shipped Bortuzzo to St. Louis at the trade deadline earlier this month. Bortuzzo and Goc combined for just six goals in 168 career games with the Penguins. They scored for St. Louis during a 2:36-span in the second period to tie the game.
“My goal, a lot of credit goes to the forwards getting to the net,” Bortuzzo said. “Marc is a fantastic goalie. It’s a good feeling if you can contribute against your former squad.”
Blake Comeau and Steve Downie scored for Pittsburgh. Nick Spaling added two assists in the Penguins’ fifth loss in six games.
Finding the back of the net continues to be a problem. Pittsburgh played its fifth straight game without Evgeni Malkin and fourth straight without Patric Hornqvist, both out indefinitely with undisclosed injuries. The Penguins have found the back of the net just seven times during their six-game slump.
“There are some things that we did well, and some things we need to clean up,” Comeau said. “We got the one point, but definitely we wanted that second one.”
Pittsburgh remained two points behind the New York Islanders in the race for second in the Metropolitan Division.
The Penguins decided to go with seven defensemen rather than the usual six after recalling rookie Derrick Pouliot from the minors. The plan lasted all of five minutes.
Christian Ehrhoff, who has struggled to stay healthy all season – and missed Saturday’s win over Arizona after being a late pregame scratch – smacked against the boards in the corner behind the Pittsburgh net following a collision with Vladimir Tarasenko. Ehrhoff, who has already missed 24 games with various issues, did not return and coach Mike Johnston had no immediate update on Ehrhoff’s status.
The teams slogged through 25 minutes of tight-checking hockey before the Penguins’ sputtering offense briefly came to life.
Daniel Winnik emerged from the penalty box just in time to start a break that ended with Comeau slipping it through Allen’s legs for his 16th goal of the season 8:41 into the second. Downie doubled Pittsburgh’s lead 17 seconds later following a steal at the point by Spaling, who fed Downie in front. The puck caromed off the back of a surprised Allen’s pads and into the net.
The momentum didn’t last. Bortuzzo ended a frantic sequence in which bodies piled up in front of Fleury by powering a slap shot through traffic 14:52 into the second. Goc pounced on a loose puck in the slot and flipped it by a screened Fleury to tie it at 17:24.
“Two greasy goals and a nice one to win it,” Allen said. “To be able to finish 3-1-2 on this trip, when you look back on it at the end of the season it could be big.”
(West Plains) – Awards and accolades will abound at the 22nd annual Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Sports Banquet, set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, in the Magnolia Room of the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St.
Individual and team awards will be presented for the Grizzly basketball and volleyball programs, and highlights of the basketball and volleyball teams during their past seasons will be recalled. Grizzly Cheer Team members also will be honored.
In addition, former Grizzly Volleyball standout Amy Lusk Sheble (2004-05) will be inducted into the Grizzly Hall of Fame during the proceedings.
Tickets are $20 each. For more information, contact Missouri State-West Plains Dean of Student Services Dr. Angela Totty at 417-255-7255 or e-mail AngelaTotty@MissouriState.edu.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Both the men’s and women’s basketball coaching jobs at Southeast Missouri State are now open.
The university announced Monday that men’s coach Dickey Nutt was fired, just hours after announcing that women’s coach Ty Margenthaler had resigned.
The Southeast Missourian reports Nutt had an 80-108 record during six years as coach. The Redhawks won a spot in the eight-team Ohio Valley Conference tournament five times but never advanced past the quarterfinal round.
“Yes, we had back-to-back winning seasons my first year here and last year, but when you look at our standing in the OVC, it’s been pretty flat, and obviously it declined a little bit this year. … I just felt that, from a competitive standpoint, that we should be better as a program, said Southeast athletic director Mark Alnutt.
Margenthaler was 37-78 in four seasons at Southeast. The women’s team hasn’t reached the conference tournament since 2009.
The NCAA is investigating violations allegedly committed by Margenthaler and a former assistant coach.
“A lot of that you can look at performance as well, on the court, but as we all know, too, there’s a looming NCAA (case) that they’re investigating us,” Alnutt said. “That was a situation that obviously we acted swiftly and self-reported, self-imposed some discipline, and now that’s in the hands of the NCAA.”
The university will buy out both coaches, paying Margenthaler $29,500. Nutt, who agreed to a new contract through the 2016-2017 season last April, will receive $93,636.
School officials will attend the men’s Final Four in Indianapolis and the women’s Final Four in Tampa, Florida, to seek potential candidates.
Alnutt hopes that some of the coaches from the competitions will be able to make a trip to Cape Girardeau and see the city.
by Rick Eymer, AP
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Jake Peavy pitched five innings, and the San Francisco Giants snapped a four-game losing streak with an 8-3 exhibition victory against the Kansas City Royals on Monday.
Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik each had two hits for the World Series champions. Adam Duvall, Juan Perez, Gregor Blanco, Brandon Belt and Panik each drove in a run.
“It’s good to see them break out a little bit,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “There were a lot of good things today.”
Peavy, who felt ill before the game, gave up three runs and seven hits.
Omar Infante had two hits and drove in two runs for the Royals, and Salvador Perez had two hits and drove in a run.
Infante made his first spring training start at second base. He has been bothered by a tender right elbow.
“I want to be 100 percent,” he said. “I’m not quite there yet.”
Infante said he is having some difficulty with turning two and throwing to third base. He doesn’t feel any pain, but his arm strength is not where he needs it to be.
“I don’t have the power just yet,” he said. “I’m going to be playing every day to get ready for opening day.”
Kansas City’s Edinson Volquez lasted four innings, giving up four runs and seven hits. He walked four and struck out two.
Royals: Volquez was able to laugh off an otherwise lackluster performance.
“I can’t remember the last time I had a good spring training,” he said. “It’s crazy. At the same time, I did a lot of good things. I only have one or two things I need to change and I’m ready to go.”
Volquez said he threw “a lot of bad pitches.”
“I’d get ahead of them and then hang a curveball,” he said. “I have to finish them off. That’s what I will be working on in my next bullpen: on my breaking ball.”
Giants: Peavy started throwing a four-seam changeup suggested to him by Giants catcher Buster Posey, who saw Angels starter C.J. Wilson use the pitch well on Sunday.
“Having a great hitter like Buster as your catcher is awesome,” Peavy said. “He’s a special talent.”
Posey came back to Peavy after facing Wilson and asked if he could throw something like it. Peavy said he would try and used the Royals hitters as his laboratory.
“I skipped the first five in front of the plate but then it got better and I struck a guy out with it,” he said.
Giants: OF Hunter Pence (broken bone in left forearm) is down to a smaller cast that just covers his wrist. … OF Angel Pagan (back stiffness) will play in a minor league game on Tuesday.
Royals: Kansas City has its only day off of the spring on Tuesday. It has yet to announce a starter for Wednesday.
Giants: RHP Ryan Vogelsong gets the start Tuesday night against the Cleveland Indians in Goodyear. RHP Matt Cain will pitch in a minor league game.
PHOENIX (AP) — NFC champion Seattle, Denver and Kansas City each were awarded four compensatory picks in this year’s draft.
The NFL handed out 32 such picks to 14 teams on Monday. They begin at the conclusion of the third round when Super Bowl winner New England gets the 97th overall choice.
New England lost LeGarrette Blount, Dane Fletcher, Brandon Spikes and Aqib Talib in 2014 free agency, while adding Brandon Browner and Brandon LaFell. Blount returned to the Patriots after being cut by Pittsburgh in November and was a key running back the rest of the season.
The Patriots get two picks overall.
A team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory picks. The draft will be held April 30-May 2 in Chicago.
Kansas City and Cincinnati also received third-rounders, Nos. 98 and 99, respectively.
The Chiefs lost Branden Albert, Jon Asamoah, Quintin Demps, Tyson Jackson, Akeem Jordan, Kendrick Lewis, Dexter McCluster and Geoff Schwartz. They added Joe Mays and Vance Walker.
Cincinnati, like New England, got one of its departed free agents back. The Bengals lost DE Michael Johnson to Tampa Bay, and also saw OT Anthony Collins leave. Johnson was released this month by Tampa Bay and re-signed by the Bengals. They get two picks overall.
Other teams receiving choices were Baltimore and Houston (three each); Carolina, Green Bay and San Francisco (two); Arizona, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and St. Louis (one).
Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL’s management council.
Since compensatory picks first were awarded in 1994, the Ravens have gotten the most with 44. The Packers are next with 35, followed by Dallas with 33. Cleveland has received the fewest with six.
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — The spring training game between St. Louis and the Boston Red Sox on Monday was rained out with the Cardinals leading in the middle of the fifth inning.
With the game three outs shy of being official, rain started and the game was called after a 55-minute wait. There was standing water on the field when the decision was made not to continue.
Boston’s Rick Porcello gave up two runs and six hits in five innings.
Red Sox manager John Farrell and Cardinal manager Mike Matheny walked the field with two umpires before the decision was made not to resume. Farrell said there was some thought given to continuing the game.
“The amount of standing water, the projected time to squeegee it off and we were still running the risk of more rain coming,” hwe said. “It was in the best interest to call it when we did.’”`
Porcello, acquired from Detroit in December, said he probably would not have pitched another inning under any conditions.
“I think I hit my pitch count,” said Porcello, who threw 92 pitches, including strikes. “I feel strong. My sequences, the way I’m thinking on the mound is there. The consistency of the pitches isn’t again where I want it to be. ”
Boston scored in the fifth when Ty Kelly and Matt Carpenter doubled.
Cardinals: Lance Lynn allowed one hit in four innings, struck out three and walked none. After Pablo Sandoval doubled leading off the second, Lynn retired the next three batters on two groundouts and a strikeout.
“He looked great,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “Got him in a tough spot there, man on third and one out, and I thought he even got better. Good sink, good life on the ball. I don’t necessarily need to see his competitive nature. We all know that. He’s always going to come with it. I just like watching how the ball’s coming out of his hand. It looks heavy. Got to see movement, depth to his sinker. See him throwing the breaking ball in tough counts. He’s feeling confident with it. He threw the changeup, the cutter. All of them looked right where they need to be right now.”
Red Sox: Porcello retired nine of his first 11 batters before giving up two singles in the fourth and three hits in the fifth.
Cardinals: DH Matt Holliday was hit on the side by a Porcello pitch in the fifth inning and left the game after taking first base.
Red Sox: DH David Ortiz, who has been sidelined several days with dehydration and what Farrell described as “flu-like” symptoms, could return to the lineup by Thursday, when the Red Sox play Minnesota. Farrell said Ortiz could get minor league at-bats before Thursday. Ortiz has 15 at-bats; Farrell isn’t concerned about Ortiz’ readiness for the April 6 opener. Ortiz likely will play some at first base during Boston’s first series.
“His spring trainings over 16, 17 years have been kind of all over the map in terms of number of at-bats accumulated,” Farrell said. “I do know that David is wanting to get back to regular at-bats by Thursday or later this week, just give him the final 10 days here in camp to get back in the flow of things to get him at first base in game situation so it prepares us for Philadelphia, but he’s making progress.”
1B Mike Napoli’s sore ankle is progressing and he should return to the lineup soon.
“He’ll be getting regular reps before the end of the week,” Farrell said.
Cardinals: St. Louis plays Washington on Wednesday.
Red Sox: LHP Henry Owens is to start for the Red Sox against Miami in Jupiter, and RHP Tom Koehler for the Marlins.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Virginia coach Tony Bennett has been named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association national coach of the year.
Bennett guided Virginia to a 30-4 record, including a 28-2 mark in the regular season. The award is based on the regular season.
Bennett also won the award named for Hall of Fame coach Henry Iba at Washington State in 2007 and is the ninth coach to win it twice.
He and Roy Williams – Williams at Kansas in 1990 and North Carolina in 2006 – are the only coaches to win the award at two schools.
The Cavaliers won their second consecutive outright Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title this year.
They were eliminated from the NCAA tournament in a 60-54 loss to Michigan State on Sunday.
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — John Lackey worked into the fifth inning in his second spring start, allowing four runs as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-6 Sunday.
Adam Jones homered twice for Baltimore, driving in four runs and Manny Machado hit a solo home run.
Jones hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Mitch Wilson. He also homered in the fourth off Lackey. The center fielder has three home runs this spring. Machado homered and doubled against Lackey.
Manager Mike Matheny is allowing Lackey to work his way into form, but did take him on a cross state road trip.
“All things considered, I felt pretty good. Being 36 and riding 3 1/2 hours on a bus,” Lackey said.
Lackey wasn’t concerned about pitching to the Orioles, against whom he has started 27 times in the regular season.
“There are a couple of times I would have thrown totally different pitches if it was a regular game,” Lackey said.
“They have some good hitters and some good power, but it was obvious, I was throwing fastballs. I’m not overly concerned about results right now.”
Matheny rarely visits the mound without removing a pitcher, but he did this time. Just before Machado’s double, he let Lackey convince him he should stay in.
“I was planning on it until I caught eyes with him. I could see he wanted to talk about it, at least,” Matheny said. “I said that’s fine, it’s your last hitter, though. He said `that sounds good.’”
Bud Norris allowed three runs – one of them unearned in four innings. Matt Adams hit a long two-run home run to center field in the third.
Randal Grichuk hit a two run homer in the ninth off Chaz Roe to key a three-run Cardinals ninth.
Orioles: There’s a spirited contest for the backup catcher’s job with Matt Wieters likely to begin the season on the disabled list.
Caleb Joseph is considered the favorite to start. J.P. Arencibia, Steve Clevenger and Ryan Lavarnway, all of whom have major league experience, are also in camp.
Showalter said that offense is important, but defense is more vital.
“I think we’ve got the potential to get both of that. The first criteria they have to satisfy is the defensive part of it,” Showalter said.
RHP Hunter Harvey, the team’s No. 1 draft choice in 2013, was hit by a comebacker in a minor league game on Saturday and suffered a slight fracture in his fibula. He’s expected to be out four-to-six weeks.
Cardinals: LHP Jaime Garcia will throw a simulated game on Tuesday, which is the second scheduled open date of the spring for St. Louis.
Orioles: Norris has allowed 13 runs in 11 2-3 innings.
“I wanted to see a little bit better results today. I was kinda upset with myself,” Norris said. “Obviously getting home and pitching in front of the fans in Baltimore is going to be great, but it’s a big league game for a reason. I’m going to get there. I’m not that worried. I just want to get there.”
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn starts against Boston RHP Rick Porcello on Monday in Fort Myers. Lynn, who has been slowed by a hip injury, has pitched just one inning this spring.
Orioles: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez pitches against Pittsburgh RHP Radhames Liz on Tuesday in Bradenton. The Orioles have their only day off of the spring on Monday.
by Alan Eskew, AP
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Alex Rios each had two hits as the Kansas City Royals defeated a San Francisco Giants split squad 4-2 Sunday.
Hosmer, who hiked his batting average to .353, doubled in the fourth and scored on Rios’ single. Rios also doubled in the sixth and scored on Salvador Perez’s single. Moustakas had an RBI double in the sixth.
“We swung the bats good,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Hos had some good at-bats. It was a good day.”
It was the first time the clubs had met since Game 7 of the World Series, which the Giants won 3-2.
“The atmosphere was a little less than the last time we played these guys,” Yost said, “but it’s still fun.”
Alex Gordon, playing in only his second game after having right wrist surgery in late December, singled home Alcides Escobar in the fifth for his first hit of the spring.
Giants left fielder Nori Aoki, who played for the Royals last season, singled, doubled and walked against his former teammates. It was his second straight multihit game.
“Before the game, I went to the Royals’ bench and said hello to the manager, coaches and everyone,” Aoki said through an interpreter. “It reminded me of my Royals days.”
Both of Aoki’s hits were off Royals left-hander Danny Duffy.
“I wanted to face a left-handed pitcher,” Aoki said. “Last year, I watched Duffy from right field and I had a good image of Duffy.”
Duffy went 5 1/3 innings, the longest outing by a Royals starter this season, allowing two runs on six hits.
Brandon Crawford also had two hits, including an RBI double.
FINNEGAN TO MINORS
The Royals optioned Brandon Finnegan, who became the first player to play in the College World Series and the World Series the same year, to Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Sunday.
The Royals’ first-round pick out of TCU last year, will be used as a starter in the minors after pitching out of the Kansas City bullpen last September and in the postseason.
Giants: RHP Chris Heston, who was optioned Friday to Triple-A Sacramento, had an impressive three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five against a Royals’ lineup that included eight regulars.
Royals: Duffy’s pitch count reached 72 before he was pulled after Crawford’s double. “I felt like I was locating pretty well,” Duffy said. “In the sixth, I felt I made a couple of good pitches and fell behind Crawford. That was the only pitch I wish I could have back. Overall, I felt pretty good.”
Giants: RHP Eric Cordier, who has not pitched since March 8 because of a forearm strain, is scheduled to resume a throwing program this week.
Royals: Eibner, who exited the game Saturday with a bruised left foot, said he was OK on Sunday before he was assigned to the minor league camp. “I just fouled a two-seam off the top of my foot, caught it flush,” Eibner said. “Running to first, I didn’t have much feeling in it. I don’t think I gave myself enough time to get some blood flowing through there. I kind of rushed back in the box. I felt just really uncomfortable.”
BOCHY SOLID AGAIN
RHP Brett Bochy pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing one hit, to lower his ERA to 1.50 over seven appearances. Giants manager Bruce Bochy is his father.
Giants: RHP Jake Peavy, who was 0-2 with a 12.79 ERA in two World Series starts last October against Kansas City, will face the Royals on Monday at Scottsdale.
Royals: Omar Infante, who has been limited to DH duties because of a tender right elbow, played second base in a minor league game Sunday. If all goes well, Infante will make his Cactus League debut at second Monday.
DETROIT (AP) — Justin Abdelkader helped get the Detroit Red Wings’ four-game homestand off to a strong start.
Abdelkader’s power-play goal 24 seconds into overtime lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.
The Red Wings had a man advantage for the final 1:21 of regulation and the opening moments of overtime.
The penalty carried over to the extra session, when Abdelkader knocked in a rebound of a shot from Marek Zidlicky past Jake Allen for the game-winner.
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said the play should have been stopped because it appeared Abdelkader broke his stick in the scrum before knocking in the winner.
“We should at least be playing in the shootout now,” Hitchcock said. “The referees left the building, all of us left the building. We didn’t have a chance to meet Elvis.”
Jimmy Howard made 23 saves for the Red Wings. The veteran goaltender has received criticism by going 5-5-2 since returning from a groin injury, although he has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of those starts.
“It’s hard to be a goaltender in this league, just like it’s hard to be a quarterback in the NFL and hard to be a pitcher in baseball,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “When you don’t do it, people start questioning you. Howie kind of relishes that opportunity.”
Alexander Steen scored for the Blues on a power-play goal at 9:38 of the second period.
Babcock said the home win was big for his team, which went 1-3 on a four-game road trip.
“You get sick and tired of losing, especially when you’re not used to it,” Babcock said. “They’re smart people, they know what the standings are and they want to be in the playoffs. That’s what we expected from the get-go – to make the playoffs – and that’s where we’re at.”
The Blues are in contention for the Presidents’ Trophy for the most points in the league and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Red Wings are trying to hold on to their playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Whether it was the playoff implications or a carry-over from the teams’ old Western Conference rivalry, the game had a strong intensity. The teams accumulated 36 of their 50 penalty minutes in a third period that included multiple skirmishes on the ice.
The third period started with Erik Cole’s goal only 24 seconds into the period. The tying goal came after a shot by Abdelkader hit the head of Blues defenseman Chris Butler and landed in front of Allen, setting up Cole for his third goal in 10 games since being traded to Detroit from Dallas.
“I thought (Butler) got hit in the face and maybe they would stop the play,” Allen said. “It was a weird play. I got caught and was surprised a little bit.”
Babcock joked about Abdelkader making “good passes off a guy’s face,” but said sending the puck at the net is what he tells his players.
“If you shoot the puck, you get breaks because it’s random. It’s harder when it’s random,” Babcock said. “When you pass the puck all the time, the goalie knows where the puck’s going.”
Allen finished with 23 saves for the Blues, who were playing their fifth game in a six-game road trip and the second in less than 24 hours.