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20.05.2014 10:29
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WASHINGTON -- The setting and the situation were so similar, Pete Kozma couldnt help but recall what happened six months ago. wholesale nfl jerseys . "I can think of one game," he said, more mischief in his words than in his deadpan facial expression. With two runners on, No. 8 hitter Kozma came to bat for St. Louis in a tight game against the Washington Nationals, the Cardinals pitcher on deck. When that happened the last time these teams played a game that counted, it was Oct. 12, in Game 5 of an NL division series, and Washington pitched to Kozma, who delivered a go-ahead, two-run single. On Monday night, the Nationals chose to intentionally walk Kozma -- something some fans surely wished the Nationals had done the other time -- and reliever Craig Stammen struck out Shelby Miller to end the inning. Earlier in the sixth, Yadier Molina drove in the tiebreaking run for St. Louis, backing Millers strong start, and the Cardinals beat the Nationals 3-2. "Before the game, I got to thinking about it a little bit here and there," Kozma said. He was booed during pregame introductions and again when his name was announced before his first plate appearance, in the third inning. He singled to right in that at-bat, the ball landing not too far from where his go-ahead hit landed in October. This time, it was part of a two-run inning, with Kozma and Matt Carpenter coming home on Allen Craigs double off the wall for a 2-0 lead. When Kozma came up for the final time Monday, in the ninth, he was the first batter faced by -- guess who? -- Drew Storen, who was Washingtons closer on Oct. 12. The Nationals led 6-0 after three innings that day, and were still ahead 7-5 with two outs in the top of the ninth, before Storen gave up a tying hit to Daniel Descalso and Kozmas hit that made it 9-7 and ended the Nationals season. After striking out Kozma on Monday, Storen got pinch-hitter Descalso to pop out to third base. "All of that did flash before my mind when it was all coming up," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. Storen, by the way, said October, the Cardinals and Kozma were not in his thoughts at all. "If it was," he said, "I shouldnt be out there." Miller (3-1) struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings, giving up two runs and four hits. "Hes got a different look than the majority of the guys we have on our staff, and a lot of other guys in the league. Hes keeping people off balance with that," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You cant go out there and try and teach somebody deception, necessarily," Matheny added. "The ball just comes out of his hand a little different." Edward Mujica pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save, and with Mitchell Boggs having blown two of four save chances, Matheny said hell figure out his bullpen roles game by game. All the Cardinals runs came against Dan Haren (1-3), who allowed six hits in five-plus innings. "I gave us a chance until the fifth," Haren said. "Then I got into a mess." In a span of three pitches. Haren plunked the innings first batter, Matt Holliday, and then served up first-pitch singles to Carlos Beltran and Molina, putting St. Louis ahead 3-2. Haren then walked David Freese, loading the bases with no outs, and was done. In came righty reliever Craig Stammen, who got Jon Jay to ground into a 3-2-3 double play before the walk to Kozma and strikeout of Miller. Miller departed after walking Kurt Suzuki to put two on with two outs in the seventh. Joe Kelly came on to face pinch-hitter Chad Tracy, who sent a sinking shot to right-centre but Jay raced over to make a nice grab. The Nationals didnt score against relievers Trevor Rosenthal or Mujica, either, and now have lost seven of their last 10 games, averaging only 3.3 runs in that span. "Were just in a rut," Washington first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "Lot of quick innings. Not a ton of baserunners. And five, six guys that arent swinging the bat real good. When it rains, it pours." NOTES: Cardinals 1B Matt Adams was removed from the lineup after feeling soreness in his right side during batting practice. ... The Cardinals have alternated wins and losses over their last nine games. ... Washington closer Rafael Soriano was away from the team because his wife gave birth. ... Washington 3B Anthony Rendon, called up from Double-A Harrisburg over the weekend to fill in while Ryan Zimmerman is on the DL, had his first major league hit and RBI -- doubling to right-centre to make it 2-all in the fourth. 23:42ET 22-04-13 cheap jerseys from china . The Jays have a long history of beating up on the former Yankees right-hander, so they knew it was only a matter of time before they got him in his new home in Minnesota. Jose Bautista had three hits and an RBI, and Brett Lawrie hit a grand slam in the ninth inning to help the Blue Jays beat the Twins 9-3 on Tuesday night. cheap nfl jerseys .J. -- A decade into his NBA career, Nene turned the page and started enjoying life as a Washington Wizard -- at least the first game.STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oh sure, Marcus Smart definitely noticed Kevin Durant sitting courtside in Gallagher-Iba Arena. And he put together quite a performance for one of the NBAs most gifted scorers. Smart scored a career-high 39 points and No. 7 Oklahoma State raced past No. 11 Memphis for a 101-80 win on Tuesday night in a one-sided matchup of top teams. Durant was one of many basketball fans across the country interested to see Smarts return to the national stage after he bypassed the NBA draft following the Cowboys early exit from last seasons NCAA tournament. Smart responded by scoring 26 points in the first half. He finished 11 of 21 from the floor and hit five 3-pointers while easily passing his previous career high of 28 points set last season against Oklahoma. "We saw Kevin Durant, and we just wanted to go out there and put on a show," Smart said. Nick King had 23 points for Memphis, and Shaq Goodwin finished with 13. The Tigers (1-1) shot 41.2 per cent (28 of 68), including a combined 2-of-20 performance from guards Michael Dixon Jr. and Geron Johnson. The Tigers had played just once before the trip to Stillwater, a 95-69 home win over Austin Peay. And they appeared to be ill prepared for their first hostile road environment. More specifically, they werent prepared for Smart -- who added five steals, four rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks in an outstanding all-around performance. "Oklahoma State was just the better team tonight," Dixon Jr. said. "Our apologies for not playing Memphis basketball; we just couldnt make shots." Markel Brown added 20 points and Brian Williams had 15 for Oklahoma State (4-0), which is averaging 102 points per game. Surprisingly, Smart didnt even enter the game as the leading scorer for the Cowboys. In fact, the sophomore was third on Oklahoma State -- behind sixth-man Phil Forte and Brown -- with an average of 13.7 points through the teams opening three blowout victories. Smart, however, played up to the competiition in the Cowboys return to the national spotlight after last seasons crushing loss against Oregon in the NCAA tournament. wholesale jerseys. "We just wanted to show everybody that we werent backing down, and thats what we did tonight," Smart said. In front of Durant, a host of NBA scouts and Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, Smart scored 12 of the Cowboys first 14 points. His last basket during the opening stretch was a dunk on the break that put Oklahoma State ahead 14-7. The Tigers did their best to stay close, rallying to tie it at 16 after back-to-back baskets by King, but they had no answer for Smart in the first half. "Oklahoma State, they just kicked our butt," Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. "When (Smart) scores like that, he could be the best player in college basketball." With the Cowboys up 17-16, the 6-foot-4 guard went on a one-man scoring binge that worked the crowd into a frenzy. Smart scored the next 12 points for Oklahoma State -- including three 3-pointers and a trio of free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt -- to put the Cowboys up 29-20. In all, he scored 24 of Oklahoma States first 29 points. "Thats just Marcus," Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. "Hes going to be ready when he needs to be ready. ... I knew he was going to be ready to play, I knew that from the beginning. "I didnt know he was going to go out there and get 39. Thats not always what we need from him, but well take it." The Cowboys led 50-32 at halftime and stretched their lead to as many as 34 points in the second half -- comfortably answering their first challenge of the season and reminding the country why Smart was a consensus preseason All-American. Smarts fifth 3-pointer lifted Oklahoma State to a 64-43 advantage, giving him a career-best 31 points. "I was just feeling it tonight," Smart said. "My teammates found me and gave me the ball at times when I needed it in order to get my shot off." ' ' '

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