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At the Olympics you saw how dominant the mens
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PITTSBURGH -- Jeff Locke barely made the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation out of spring training, winning a battle with Kyle McPherson almost by default after McPherson struggled and a better option never materialized. "You know when you break camp as the No. 5 guy, if something happens or if someone starts off hot down below you might be the guy that gets moved," Locke said. "Its kind of pitching to survive." Something thats no longer an issue for him as the de facto ace for the injury ravaged Pirates. The 25-year-old, who looks a couple days removed from high school, allowed two hits over seven innings as the Pirates silenced the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 on Friday night. Locke struck out five and walked one while needing just 75 pitches to get 21 outs. Locke (6-1) barely resembled the guy who walked seven Chicago Cubs in his previous start, keeping the Dodgers off balance by working both sides of the plate and not being afraid of letting his defence do the rest as his ERA dropped to 2.19. "He came to pitch," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "Just very, very efficient. He made pitches the entire seven innings." Jason Grilli worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the ninth for his National League-leading 24th save. Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run double in the third inning off Stephen Fife (1-2) and gave the Pirates some insurance when he scored on a sacrifice fly by Neil Walker in the ninth. The story, however, remains the soft-spoken left-hander from New Hampshire. Locke lost his first game of the year, a 6-2 defeat in Los Angeles on April 10. He hasnt been beaten since and appears to be growing stronger each time he takes the hill, a welcome development for a starting rotation in tatters. A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald and Jeanmar Gomez all are on the disabled list, leaving Locke and veteran Francisco Liriano as the top-end starters for one of baseballs biggest first-half surprises. If the spotlight is getting to Locke, it doesnt show. "I wouldnt say (my) comfort level has changed at all," Locke said. "Its still uncomfortable. The confidence is definitely there. Thats something Ive gained into spring training and Ive been able to carry it through the first half of the season so far." Los Angeles didnt get a runner to second base while Locke was in the game, but had chances late to tie the game. Pittsburgh reliever Mark Melancon struck out pinch-hitter Juan Uribe with runners in scoring position in the eighth. Yaisel Puig and Nick Punto hit consecutive singles off Grilli to start the ninth. Grilli then retired Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Mark Ellis to remain a perfect 24 for 24 in save opportunities. "He threw eight pitches in that at-bat," Gonzalez said. "When I see eight pitches, I shouldnt strike out. I needed to put a ball in play and I should have. That was bad hitting on my part." Something thats going around for Los Angeles, which has dropped five of six and is now a season-low 10 games under .500 (28-3Cool. The Dodgers played without manager Don Mattingly, who served a one-game suspension for his role in the brawl with Arizona earlier in the week. Bench coach Trey Hillman filled in and watched his team get handcuffed by a player who is making $497,500. The average salary on the Dodgers is nearly $10 million. "(Locke) commanded three pitches pretty well and he pitched in a lot," Hillman said. "The fastball and the changeup were good and he kept us honest with the breaking ball all night." McCutchen gave the Pirates all the offence they would need when he doubled to the corner in right field in the third, scoring Alex Presley and Russell Martin. Fife, making just his fourth start of the season, settled down and escaped without further damage when McCutchen was gunned down at home trying to score on a ground ball and Clint Barmes flew out to left with the bases loaded later in the inning. Fife gave up six hits in five innings, walking three and striking out four. "It was a battle the whole time I was in there," Fife said. "I just couldnt get that easy inning." That wasnt a problem for Locke, who felt fresh after heading to the dugout in the middle of the seventh. He didnt put up any fight to stay in the game, not with the one-two punch of Melancon and Grilli available. It almost backfired. Andre Ethier singled with one out in the eighth and Jerry Hairston Jr. doubled to the gap in left-centre one batter later. Ethier held up at third rather than try to score, and it cost the Dodgers when pinch-hitter Juan Uribe struck out. Pittsburgh added an insurance run when McCutchen singled leading off the bottom of the eighth and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Neil Walker. Grilli made it stand up against the meat of Los Angeles lineup. NOTES: Locke singled off Fife in the third to end an 0-for-30 skid dating to last season ... Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis went 0 for 3 with 3 strikeouts in his return from the disabled list. He also threw out two would-be base stealers. Ellis missed 14 games with a strained oblique. To make room for Ellis, Los Angeles designated C Ramon Hernandez for assignment. Hernandez hit .208 with three homers and six RBIs in 17 games with the Dodgers ... The series continues on Saturday when rookie Brandon Cumpton makes his major league debut for the Pirates, replacing Burnett. Clayton Kershaw (5-4, 1.88 ERA) starts for Los Angeles ... Dodgers reliever J.P. Howell pitched two perfect innings in relief. Howell is appealing a two-game suspension for his role in the brawl with the Diamondbacks. Reliever Ronald Belisario sat out to serve his one-game suspension.
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. Aduriz headed home Markel Susaetas cross in the sixth minute to open the scoring at San Mames Stadium. He bettered that with a long-range blast that went in off the goal frame in the 18th, and converted a penalty in the 72nd after Diego Mainz was sent off for fouling Aduriz with only the goalkeeper to beat.
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. -- Packers cornerback Tramon Williams has been fined $26,250 for contact with an official, per NFL guidelines.
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. Parmelee hit a game-ending shot in the ninth inning and the Minnesota Twins overcame David Ortizs big night to beat the Boston Red Sox 8-6 on Tuesday.
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. 31 as the deadline to submit an Olympic hockey roster, the deadline has changed. After appeals from some top European countries - namely Russia, Sweden, Finland and Czech - over the past 24 hours, the National Hockey League, NHL Players Association and the IIHF agreed to move the date to Jan.
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. Later, his catcher delivered the deciding stroke. Price struck out 10 in his Detroit debut and was long gone when Alex Avila homered in the 12th inning to lift the Tigers over the New York Yankees 4-3 Tuesday night.The last six months have been a whirlwind for Kevin Dineen. In October he was coaching the NHLs Florida Panthers. But after being fired in November, he was named the Canadian womens team coach and guided the squad to a stirring fourth straight Olympic title in Sochi, Russia. Dineen is now with a third team, preparing the Canadian under-18 mens squad to defend its world title in Finland. "Its been (a whirlwind) but you know what, its a hockey life," Dineen said. "You have tough times with the lows, you get fired and its an emotional deal. "As I told the women before the gold medal game, I knew the day I was hired I had to be on my toes and it was kind of like someone lit a match under my fanny. I just really enjoyed that whole process. You never know how those things are going to end. "Just like this one, you dont know. Weve got to have some luck and have some things work in our favour but its not always about the ending. Its about the ride youre on, it really is." The 50-year-old Quebec City native will have plenty of international experience at his disposal when Canada begins its title defence Thursday against Sweden in Imatra, Finland. Thirteen players on the roster participated in last years under-17 World Hockey Challenge in Quebec while eight skated in this years under-17 event in Cape Breton, N.S. And nine players helped Canada win gold at the Ivan Hlinka tournament last summer. However, Dineens biggest challenge is quickly moulding his players into a tightly knit team. "Yes there are challenges like having to gel and find some chemistry in a timely manner," he said. "A lot of the European teams have been together for a while and the Americans are centralized all year so those teams have an advantage. "But thats what makes it fun putting this team together. These boys are really excited to represent Canada and that works in our favour. Theyre sharp kids." And big, with 14 players being six feet or taller. But its still a team, Dineen says, that can excel on the larger international ice surface. "Even though I talk about our size, that does not in any way take away from our skill," Dineen said. "I think were a team that has some skill and I believe we can compete with any team. "That makes it enjoyable to have those guys who can play the game anyway we need to play to have success." Dineen is familiar with international hockey. He played for Canada six times, claiming world championship silver medals in 85 and 89 and winning the 87 Canada Cup. The 19-year NHL veteran also wore the Maple Leaf at the 84 Winter Games. In December, he joined a national womens program stinging from coach Dan Churchs sudden resignation and having lost four straight pre-Olympic tuneups to the archrival United States. In Russia, Canada beat the Americans twice, including a thrilling 3-2 overtime decision in the gold medal game after trailing 2-0 late in regulation. &quuot;If you were going to ride a roller-coaster and go the top, I couldnt have done better than that," Dineen said.dddddddddddd. "I had a pretty good buzz for about three weeks after Sochi, just enjoying it and the enjoyment people got out of that tournament. "Thats a special moment for Canada and you can compound that a lot for me and the players as well." Since Sochi, Dineen has been overwhelmed by people anxious to share their Olympic experience. That includes former NHL goalie Fred Brathwaite, now an assistant coach on the under-18 squad. "He was telling me he was on Highway 401 driving to a game and couldnt watch but found it on the radio," Dineen said. "After we scored in overtime, there was like 50 people around him all honking their horns. "A fireman from Hamilton told me how they were so mad they had to leave on a call during the game and when they returned there was skiing on TV. They thought theyd missed it but it was just the holdover until overtime. The next thing you know, the whole firehouse was watching and went bonkers. "When you hear those stories -- and Ive heard literally hundreds and will never tire of anybodys story -- its pretty special. Im not afraid to share those experiences with these boys." Moose Jaw Warriors forward Brayden Point, a late cut from last years team, said Dineen has quickly made an impression on his young players. "Hes an awesome guy," said the 18-year-old Calgary native. " Hes got real good systems and hes really good with the players. "Everyone respects him a ton and its real easy to learn from him." Kingston Frontenacs defenceman Roland McKeown, a returnee from last years squad, said Dineens message is a simple one. "Hes preaching the Canadian way," McKeown said. "At the Olympics you saw how dominant the mens and womens teams were and that was doing it the Canadian way with hard work, that two-way game and everyone buying into a role. "Thats what were going to do." The six-foot-one 195-pound McKeown, an 18-year-old native of Listowel, Ont., hopes last years experience helps him become a key contributor this time. "Last year proved every guy has to take a role and buy in to win a championship," he said. "I gained a lot of experience from the guys who were here last year and want to use that to take a leadership role with this team." Dineen has taken an unplanned detour to land behind the under-18 teams bench, but hes a better coach because of it. "I coached six years in the American Hockey League and always took pride in being able to work with either veterans or young players but these guys are all young," Dineen said. "That really makes it enjoyable because theyre a good bunch. "To me, thats one of the advantages, just coming here and working with these players. Youre getting better every day and thats a good thing for me." ' ' '
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At the Olympics you saw how dominant the mens
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