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22-year-old completed a big money move from Brentf

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reliever earned his third save of the spring with a cl Azzurri were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage which included finalists Liverpool and were dumped out of the Europa League in the last eight by Arsenal, who will face Chelsea in Baku.Ancelotti said, “It is a small consolation ean ninth inning Thursday against the Marlins.

Boggs has a 1.13 ERA in eight spring innings and remains in line to close for the Cardinals until Jason Motte returns from injury. Motte is exp has confirmed the club are weighing up loan options for Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah and Tyreece John-Jules.A’s No1.Martinez is currently backup for Bernd Leno.But he wrote for arsenal.com: “I made a promise to my dad that I would make it. I intend to keep that promise.”I’m the No 2 for now, but it won’t stay that way. My aim is to be No 1 and I’ll keep worsked about exciting midfielder Smith Rowe, Arteta said: “We are assessing the situation with three of them [young players]. “We are evaluected to open the season on the disabled list, and there isn’t a hard timetable for his return. The injury is denoted as a “strain” for now, suggesting it won’t keep Motte out for long.

says te full-back’s proposed £11million move fro

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catcher boosted his spring average in Wednesday’s Grapefrhalf-time of their win Ajax in the Champions League semi-final second leg.Spurs were down jaer says they’re on track to close the gap on Prem champs Manchester City.It’s been 10 years since ­ Manchester United last did a ­Premier League double over ­their rivals – and Solskjaer ­reckons that’s way to long. “That stat is not nice t3-0 on aggregate at the break but managed to score three goals in the second half to book their spot in the final. And fullback Kieran Trippier has revealed Kanuit League contest against the Astros. He went 3 for 4 with a run scored in the 6-2 win. Buck singled for all three of his hits, raising his average to .343.The 32-year-old also WORST in his new job at Juventus.De Laurentiis admits there’s little love lost between the pair.“Maurizio’s a good Coach, I saw a lot of him,” he told Corriere dall Sera.“I’m not surprised, football is no longer about icons. He didn’t win anythinhas two homers, seven RBI and a .600 slugging percentage through 15 spring games.

proved defensively recently as they attempt to avo

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T United have a deal in place for Sevilla striker Wwarned Europe’s biggest spenders off star striker Mohamed Salah.Klopp has dismissed suggestions Salah could be set for an uncertain hed a sigh of relief after Mason Mount was cleared of suffering a serious injury against Valencia on Tuesday night.Mount injured his ankle after a brutal tackle from Francis Coquelin just fifteen minutes into the clash at Stamford Bridge.The 20-year-summer, insisting the Liverpool star is happily settled on Merseyside.Asked on Friday if he thought Salah would still issam Ben Yedder. La Colina de Nervion says despite interest from PSG and Barcelona, the Frenchman prefers a move to Old Trafford.The 28-year-old is one of the most feared hitmen in La Liga – scoring he continued shaping their roster by optioning relief pitcher to Triple-A Nashville Saturday. Olmsted registered a 5.23 ERA over 11 relief appearances during Cactus League play, but did total 14 strikeouts.

Sun says Madrid are ready to offer £45million fo

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After a successful stint playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, shortstop returned to spring action Wednesday against the Pirates in style.

Simmons beul the club can keep Nathan Ake for many years to come.Ake is the subject of interest from former club Chelsea and other top sides in the Premier League.And Francis is aware that he may not stick around forever, but he is hopeful they can convince hilted two homers and drove in four runs during a 18-9 rout of Pittsburgh. He hit a solo homer off Kyle McPherson in the fourth inning and followed with a three-run homero off Vin Mazzaro in the fifth inning. 

“Hopefully I’m not wasting all my home runs. Hopefully I have a couple more,” Simmons told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Simmons, who was 0 for 5 in his first two spring games before leaving for the WBC, finished 3 for 4 with onto goalke ducked claims of the club being “back on our perch”.Anfield chief executive Peter Moore uttered the fateful words “we are back on our perch, as they famously say” at a football business summit in Madrid in midweek.That refers to the rivalry with Meper Emiliano Martinez.The Mirror says Petr Cech announced his retirement from professional football and played his last match in the Europa League final defeat to Chelsea, where he is being linked with a return to the club as technical dthree runs Wednesday. Simmons hit .333 (10 for 30) with two homers, three doubles, six RBI and 10 runs in eight games in the WBC.

ow about Liverpool’s title triumph.While he acknow

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Seemingly impressed by his strong spring performance, the are considering carrying first baseman on the opening day roster, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Adamsship inside the current squad.While manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are under arguably even more strain ahead of Sunday’s game against leaders Liverpool, ex-England star Anderson is struggling to see where the spark will come from.He told The Sun, who made his major-league debut laser losing assistant manager Mikel Arteta to Arsenal.Guardiola will trust his team of coaches to replace the new Arsenal manager. City will not appoint a new No2 immediately, with Rodolfo Borrell set to take on extra responsibility in Arteta’s absencet May, has been scorching this spring and entered Sunday hitting .342 with three homers and 11 RBI.

The Cardinals envision the slugging prospect patrolling first base on occasion, pushing regular first baseman Allen Craig to right field. That would then allow the team to provide a respite for its veteran outfield while keeping a combinas has no fear of Leroy Sane joining the club.The 18-year-old Canadian is already emerging has a hot property in the football world.He only managed six substitute appearances for Bayern last season, but is tipped to make the breakthrough to a startingtion of Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran or Craig in the middle of the lineup.

hard Scudamore has been named special advisor to t

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Kansas City shortstop could return to the lineup by the end of the weekend as the team continues to exercise caution regarding his stiff back, .com reported. Escobar missed his fourth straight Cactus League gamta has intimated Lucas Leicester have reportedly joined Arsenal in the race to nab Sarr for £25million in the summer.The 21-year-old netted the crucial spot-kick in the penalty shootout that won his side the French Cup last month as the Red and Blacks beat Paris Saint-Ge Torreira is a required player after victory over Manchester United.The Uruguay midfielder is being linked with Napoli this month.But after last night’s 2-0 win, Arteta said: “He was really good again. “He wants to fight for evee on Friday as the looked to prevent a setback in order to keep him ready for opening day.

“If it was the regular season, he’d be playing today, but it’s not,” managheir ownership.There is planned protests outside Old Trafford at 2pm today.Fans have already got #GlazersOut trending on Twitter now word has been spread on social media of the protest at the ground.The Manchester United Supporters Trust are not behier Ned Yost said. “It’s just about gone. The thing is, we’ve got two weeks left, we don’t need to rush this.”

ead of Scotland, it has been revealed.The 16-year-

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Giants starting pitcher worked three scoreless innings during San Francisco’s Cactus League contest against Arizona on Sunday. Zito rebounded from a poor showing in his spring debut when he served in a relief role las thendan Rodgers has admitted to being disappointed by their January transfer window.The Foxes manager was hoping to bolster his squad as they push to finish in the top four of the league.Rodgers knows that his team will face tough tests in the second ha view of Michael Chopra.The Leicester City star is on the verge of getting national team recognition.He is impressing for Brendan Rodgers at Leicester. Choudhury is a key member of the club’s midfield alongside Wilfried Ndidi.And Chopra thinks tst Wednesday and permitted just two singles to the Diamondbgreatest players in Chelsea’s history during his long and illustrious career, Lampard returns to Stamford Bridge having signed a three-year contract.The 41-year-old, who left Derby County, said: “I am immensely proud to be returning to Chelsea as heaacks. He finished with two strikeouts and did issue a walk as he chipped his ERA down to 3.86 after his first exhibition start.

umbus Crew have announced a multi-year sponsorship

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CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reports Dodgers outfielder , who is recovering from Tommy John surgery in Augusindows.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is targeting more young homegrown players to revamp his underperforming squad.British trio Dan James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have proved to be successful additions so far.And United are planning to follow the t, will play in his first spring game Thursday. Howeed back at Twitter trolls after being ridiculed about his career achievements.The Spaniard posted a to be presented at Juventus stadium on Thursday, the Bianconeri have slapped in an offer for Marquinhos.Le 10 Sport says a €55m bid has been tabled to PSG for the Brazil international.PSG have since turned down the proposal, though they expect Juvphoto of 12 shirts from his career and asked followers which one gave them the best memories.Marcos Breton called out the former Chelsea and Arsenal mver, he will be the DH as he remains on a limited throwing program.

Josh Hamilton says Dallas isn’t a baseball town

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(US Presswire)

outfielder spent the last five seasons of his career with the , whom he helped to a pair of World Series appearances and arguably the most successful run in franchise history. He’s certainly familiar with the Dallas/Fort Worth sports scene, which he told is not dominated by baseball.

“Texas, especially Dallas, has always been a football town,” he said. “They’re supportive, but they also got a little spoiled at the same time, pretty quickly. You think about three to four years ago [before the Rangers made it to the World Series]. It’s like, come on man, are you happier there again?”

Hamilton, 31, is right, of course. The area — and a gigantic chunk of Texas, really — bleeds Dallas Cowboys blue even though the team has won one playoff game in the last 16 years. The city has experienced both an championship and an Stanley Cup since the most recent time that the Cowboys won a (their fifth), but those sports don’t come close to the popularity of football in Dallas.

Texas itself is a footb delighted to hear about Neil Critchley’s move to Blackpool.Critchley has departed the role of Liverpool U23 coach to takeover the League One side.”Congratulations to Blackpool and to Neil, it’s a great thing,” said Klopp.”It’s a nice challenge for hall state, so much so that the Dallas suburb of Allen recently built an 18,000-seat stadium at a for their high school. Football is a way of life there, and it’s going to take a heck of a lot more than two AL pennants to change that culture. I don’t think it can be done, really.

There is nothing wrong with Hamilton’s comments. They’re harmless and truthful. It’s not like he slammed Rangers fans or anything. The team draws well — the Rangers drew roughly 400,000 more fans than the Angels in 2012 — and has obviously performed well, so there’s no reason for them to be disappointed. That said, fanouth are the perfect club for Lloyd Kelly to fulfil his potential.The Cherries captain has been impressed with the young full-back since he completed his move from Bristol City tor Edu is in talks with the minders of Athletico Paranaense midfielder Bruno Guimaraes.Benfica are also understood to be interested in securing Guimaraes’ signature, but Globoesporte report that Edu is due to meet his representatives in London over to the Vitality for £13 million.Speaking about the signing, he told the s tend to take comments like these as a slap in the face. Between his disappointing finish to the season, his defection to the rival Angels and these comments, Hamilton will probably hear a healthy round of boos when he returns to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington this summer.

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Topps baseball cards refuses to name Pete Rose as Hit King

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(Getty Images)

Pete Rose — Major League Baseball’s all-time Hit King – reports of an £85m bid from Barcelona were swiftly knocked down by the club this evening but the Blues are preparing for interest in the 22-year-old to intensify.Richarlison, who joined Everton in the summer of 2018 for an initial £35m, has become- is banned from baseball. We know this. That doesn’t mean we’re banned from acknowledging that he exists, yet that’s exactly what Topps baseball cards has decided to do ().

On the back of each baseball card for the 2013 season, Topps is running a “Career Chase.” That is, on the back of Paul Konerko’s card it says that his 422 career homers are 340 shy of Barry Bonds’ record 762. Yet on the back of Starlin Castro’s card, Chicago Side Sports notes, it says that his 529 hits are 3,727 shy of the record. It just doesn’t say who owns the record, as it does with all other records.

The website, Chicago Side Sports (), reached out to Topps and heard back the following:

Clay Luraschi, a spokesman for Topps, called the omission of Rose “a simple decision” but declined to elaborate. When pressed, he repeated that it was “plain and simple” that Rose’s name should not appear on cards.

Topps has every right to make this decision, as it’s their product and we live in a free country. I will in turn exercise my right to say it’s a laughably asinine policy. In addition to being petty, it’s a bad business decision, in my opinaff to quit for Manchester United.Chopra has been left frustrated and disappointed by the way owner Mike Ashley is managing the club.And he told the Evening Chronicle: “I would go. What is keeping him at Newcastle United? They have no ambition.”At leion, because Rose has legions of protective fans who anger easily. I envision a website being put together to boycott the cards in the near future.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and . Also, individually interar Milan striker Lautaro Martinez.Inter accept Lautaro will leave at the end of the season after it emerged his management had struck personal terms with Barcelona last week.With his deal carrying a €111m buyout clause, Inter will be powerless if Bact with us on Twitter: , and .

Free agent preview: Mark Reynolds

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(US Presswire)

There will always be a market for power hitters. Outside of Josh Hamilton, no player on the market can hit the long ball as well as Mark Reynolds. While Reynolds has the ability to mash 30 home runs a season, he’s just a likely to break the record for strikeouts in a single season, which, coincidentally, he already owns. At the plate, Reynolds is considered a three true outcomes player. The three true outcomes refer to the three results of a plate appearance that don’t involve fielders: walks, home runs and strikeouts. Players that lead the league in three true outcomes stats typically walk a fine line. A small loss in power or plate discipline, or a slight uptick in strikeouts can turn a once valuable player into a complete wreck in the batter’s box. 

Unfortunately for Reynolds, that time may have already come. The Orioles not only declined his $11 million option for next season, but decided to not even tender him a contract, making him a free-agent. The team had control over Reynolds for next season, but didn’t want to take the chance that he would receive significant money during arbitration. 

It looks like that may have been the right call. Reynolds made $7.5 million last season, and was due to receive a raise in arbitration. Though the market at first base isn’t all that strong, Reynolds isn’t likely to receive a big contract this winter. 

Finding a recent comparable player for Reynolds is nearly impossible due to his strikeout rate. Over the past three seasons, Reynolds has struck out in 32.3% of his plate appearances. That is a staggering rate for a full-time player. Recent players with similar strikeout rates either flamed out after a season or two, like Jack Cust and Wily Mo Pena, or were used as part-time sluggers, like Kelly Shoppach or Russell Branyan. 

Reynolds’ status as a full-time player is definitely boss Roy Hodgson insists there’s no plans for a squad overhaul.Hodgson has dismissed suggestions the departures of veterans Julian Speroni and Jason Puncheon mean Crystal Palace are embarking on a “new era”.He said: “This isn’t a question of regiin doubt. His reputation as a poor defender isn’t going to help, either. One of the main reasons teams have been willing to commit to Carlos Pena, who displays a similar skill set, is because he’s regardthe first team.Miller was involved for the Reds against Shrewsbury Town in an FA Cup fourth round replay, when the senior side was rested.The player will never forget the moment when he got to put on the Liverpool shirt as a first team starter for thed as a strong defensive first baseman. Reynolds’ best hope for consistent playing time may come as a designated hitter.

Reynolds is rumored to be looking for a deal in the same range as last yeaLazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is close to a move to PSG.Blic says the Serb has told PSG he wants to join them.PSG are offering €80m for the transfer and talks are in the final stages.PSG sporting director Leonardo is a known admirer of the player and tried to take him to Milan when he was still working for them.Milinkovic-Savic’s move will be funded by the sale of Neymar.r’s $7.5 million salary. That might not be out of line, as teams have shown a willingness to pay for power in the past. Carlos Pena managed to receive a one-year, $10 million deal with the Cubs after hitting .196/.325/.407 in 2010. And he was 32-years-old at the time. The following year, Pena received $7.25 million to return to Tampa for his age-34 season. Reynolds isn’t coming off as strong a year as Pena’s 2011, but he does have an age advantage. A one-year deal worth between $6 million and $7.25 million is probably an accurate range for Reynolds. He’ll have to prove he’s worth it, as this will likely be his last chance at significant playing time if he falters. 

Indians, Mariners, Rays

Marlins, Yankees, Cubs, Mets

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow

Report: Michael Bourn still too expensive for Reds

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general manager Walt Jocketty says free-agent center fielder is still out of their price range, Mark Sheldon of .com reported Friday.

Bourn, 29, made just under $7 million last year, his last arbitration season. The center fielder hit .274/.348/.391 with the in 2012 with 42 stolen bases. Although he isn’t expected to pull in a contract like ‘s five-year, $75-million deal with the Braves, Bourn should pull in at least $10 million per year for at least four years — a deal similar to or better than the one receivee style of manager Graham Potter.The stats say Newcastle had less of the ball against Albion than Manchester City managed versus Watford. Asked whether he had played in a side quite like that which Graham Potter is moulding, the Albion midfielder told fmidfielder Scott Banks.The Dundee-United-Scott-Banks-latest” target=”_blank”>Daily Express says Palace have agreed a substantial transfer fee with Dundee United to sign their talented youngster Banks. Sources close to the Premier League side have conrom the .

The Reds had an $87 million opening-day payroll last season andlam Slimani at AS Monaco.On-loan from Leicester City, Slimani has been a revelation for ASM so far this season, hitting four goals and providing six assists.”Slimani is walking on the water, doing exceptional things in a moribund team,” declared Belm the club isn’t expected to significantly raise salaries. The club already has roughly $85 million committed to 2013, not including the contract Ryan Ludwick agreed to with the Reds on Friday. As Jocketty said, Bourn “would have to really fall” to end up in Cincinnati.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow

Dodgers keep spending with winning bid on Ryu; assume they’re not done

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With the Dodgers winning the bidding for Korean lefthander Hyun-Jin Ryu, the lesson is not to count them out of anything.

The Dodgers won the right to negotiate for $25,737,737, as was reported on CBSSports.com, a subtantial sum for a pitcher some aren’t sure is a starter. (The Dodgers, and others, disagree.)

Sources say at leasta midfielder Jorginho has warned Maurizio Sarri that the Napoli fan base could feel “betrayed” if he joins Juventus.Reports have claimed Sarri is on the verge of swapping Stamford Bridge for Turin.Jorginho followed Sarri to the Blues last summer from one other team was in “the $20 million range” so their bid isn’t completely out of line, assuming Ryu is the starter they hope. The and also were very interested, with word coming that at least the Cubs “bid aggressively.”

Ryu is a stocky lefthander — he’s listed as 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds — with a nice touch. He’s also a plus for the Dodgers, with ‘ huge Korean population. But for this money, they have to have faith he’ll fit into their rotation.

The Dodgers have 30 days to sign Ryu now, but assuming they do, don’t assume this means they are set on starting pitching. was hurt in the second half, and Chad Billinsgley had a late injury, as well.

No matter, the new Dodgers are in a mode to spend to win.

They are like the , the old Yankees, who had money and spent it.

The Dodgers have interest in , , and , and figure they’ll make sure to get one of them, too. The Yankees are favored for Kuroda, but the Dodgers seem to have few limits.

The Dodgers spent an unheard-of $260 million in August betyween , , and . But assume there’s more where tIslam Slimani.On-loan with AS Monaco, there’s every chance the deal is set to be terminated in the coming days as offers arrive for the Algeria internatio any thoughts of retirement.The 35 year-old fullback is off contract in June.”Don’t stop playing. Stay with us for the next year,” Ancelotti said of Baines.”We would like to keep him and are going to talk with him. It would be good for us if he can snal.Foot Mercato says PSG have made contact with Slimani’s agent, Federico Pastorello, to discushat came from.

B.J. Upton visited Braves, Phillies, but leaves them, maybe others waiting

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Waiting on B.J. Upton isn’t exactly like waiting on Godot. But it’s not going as quickly as some might hope, either.

Upton, the young center fielder with speed and power, will likely have a decision about where he will sign sometime this week, reported Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. But others counter: Who knows?

As Topkin rightly said, one would think Upton would decide sometime this week. But the others who know there are no deadlines aren’t wrong, either. When it comes to free agency, there are no rules and no guarantees (except the money).

Upton visited with both the and at least 10 days ago. So it’s natural to believe he’ll be the first star player in his prime to sign.

Some may wonder why it’s taking so long. But by the standards of free agency, it’s still very early in the season.

Not one of the players likely to get one of the 10 biggest contracts this winter has signed yet, so Upton is right on schedule.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t some anxious folks.

As for where he might wind up, let’s assume the Braves and Phillies are at least two of the finalists. But there could be others. Jim Bowden of Sirius/XM suggested there’s a third team in the mix, a mystery team if you will.

The mystery team can never be discounted. The Giants and possibly the Nats also seek a center fielder, while the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Mariners, Brewers and Orioles are among other teams consideralkeeper Norberto Murara – better known as NetoThe Gunners are searching for a replacement for Petr Cech, who will retire from football after the Europa League final.According to Plaza Deportivo, Emery wants to bring in 29-year-old to serve as Bernd ing signing an outfielder. (The Phillies, Braves, Red Sox and Giants are actually candidates to sign two outfielders.)

Whatever the case, Upton has at least two very good choices we known about. The Braves are a perennial winner, as are the Phillies, with the one drawback being that they are in the same division as the Nationals, who are obviously on the rise.

Both would allow the Norfolk Va.-raised Upton to remain on the East Coast, though they would entail a league switch for the longtime Tampa Bay Ray.

It seems pretty clear the Braves have Upton, 28, as their top center-field choice, even over their own , whether that’s because of Upton’s youth, his power or his expected price. (Upton hit a career-highena believes his old club can successfully defend their Champions League crown.Dossena says the Reds are well on track for a Premier League and Champions League Double this season.He told TMW Radio: “They have been waiting for the title for a long ti 28 home runs in 2012 to go with 31 stolen bases, which marked the fifth straight time he’s stolen at least 30. But while he’s talented, he’s imperfect; his on-base percentage dipped below .300 [.298] for the first time in his career.)

With the Phillies, it’s not quite as clear whether he’s their No. 1 choice or their 1A. Some believe the Phillies have Upton at the top of their list for his power, while others think they’d be just as happy to land Bourn, a former Phillie who is beloved in the organization as much for his winning personality as his play.

It’s possible the Phillies see Upton as the better fit sincece for Eberechi Eze.The Daily Express says Tottenham are interested in signin Eze, but they’ve been put off by the £20million price tag being quoted by the west London club. Jose Mourinho will be aiming to make his first signing for the club over th he is righthanded and could be plugged into the middle of a mostly lefty lineup. It’s also possible they are mostly involved now due to the timing of the two players’ talks.

Upton is going to sign first.

At least we think he is.

Higher powers or Giant powers? Either way, San Francisco halfway to another World Series crown

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SAN FRANCISCO — Some things they planned.Some they didn’t.Up two games to none in the World Series, the Giants know better than to deny luck has played a part. We know better than to think it’s all luck.The Gregor Blanco bunt that stopped in fair territory when by all rights it should have rolled foul, in the most important play in Thursday night’s Game 2? Luck.The seven shutout innings from Madison Bumgarner, that allowed the Blanco bunt to matter? Not luck.The second-inning relay throw to the plate that ruined the Tigers’ best chance to score a run? Mostly not luck.

More Tigers-Giants coverage More World Series Coverage | | | |

It’s not fair to the Giants to credit everything that has happened over the last week to some greater power. It’s not fair to the powers of truth to deny that some absolutely nutty things have helped bring the Giants to where they are now, two wins from what would be their second title in three years.In only the past three games — Game 7 against the Cardinals, and Gamd a new deal with Watford.The Brazilian goalkeeper has signed up for another year of football with the Hornets, despite declaring that he was 99 per cent sure he would retire at the end of his contract back in March. “I couldn’t say no to the club bees 1 and 2 against the Tigers — the Giants have benefited from a Hunter Pence line drive that changed directions in mid-air, an Angel Pagan ground ball that caromed off third base and Blanco’s bunt that the Giants were certain would roll foul — until it didn’t.”You just go home and you thank the higher powers of whoever is in charge,” third-base coach Tim Flannery said after the Giants’ 2-0 Game 2 victory against the Tigers. “And try not to piss the others off.”The Giants, who trailed two games to none in the Division Series and three games to one in the NLCS, would never say a two-games-to-none World Series lead is safe. But with their two most consistent starting pitchers — Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain — set to pitch the next two games in Detroit on Saturday and Sunday, it would be crazy not to say they’re feeling pretty good.They know that they’ve already been through what should have been the riskier part of their rotation, with Barry Zito and Bumgarner forced to start the first two games because Vogelsong and Cain’s services were required in Games 6 and 7 victories against the Cardinals.The riskier part of the rotation allowed exactly one run in 12 2/3 innings. Bumgarner, who was so bad in his first two postseason starts (eight innings, 10 runs) that he was pulled from the rotation, was brilliant on Thursday. He allowed the Tigers only two hits, a Delmon Young double that would have scored a run except for that relay throw that cut down Prince Fielder at the plate, and a fourth-inning infield single by Omar Infante.Bumgarner’s great start certainly wasn’t lucky, but it did begin with the Giants crossing their fingers. Pitching coach Dave Righetti believed he had spotted and corrected a flaw in Bumgarner’s delivery (basically, the left-hander needed to speed things up a little, allowing him to drive off the mound better), and Bumgarner was able to implement the change in a few bullpen sessions.”It speaks volumes about Madison,” Vogelsong said. “It’s hard to fix something and carry it into ained to lead Serbia into the Euro2020 finals.The Balkan nation will face Portugal in a qualifier on Saturday, hoping to catch Group B leaders Ukraine.”We see every success as euphoric, and every failure as a tragedy,” Matic said. “We have such a ment game. Not only that, but into a big game. He was off pretty bad [before]. You can repeat it in the bullpen all day, but carrying it to the mound is different.”Hats off to him. Quite honestly, I don’t think I’d have been able to do that.”Fortunately for the Giants, Vogelsong shows no signs of needing to be fixed. The Giants have won each of his three postseason starts, and he has allowed only three runs in 19 innings.Strong starting pitching is one reason this is all starting to have a very 2010 feel for the Giants. They’ve played five games since falling behind three games to one to the Cardinals, and in those five games the starters have pitched 33 innings while allowing only two runs.The cumulative score in those five games: Giants 30, Cardinals/Tigers 4.Pretty hard to argue that’s all luck.Another reason to think this is 2010 all over again: Just as they did to the Rangers, the Giants beat up the Tigers’ ace in Game 1, then shut them out in Game 2.In 2010, the Giants followed that up by winning two of the three games in Texas, coming home only for a victory parade. They would love to think this World Series plays out the same way, but all they’ll say now is that they would rather be two games up than two games down.That seems obvious, but remember, the Giants were behind in both of their first two series, including that crazy 0-2 deficit after two home games in a best-of-5 first-round series with the Reds.”0-2? No, that would not be recommended,” Jeremy Affeldt said. “Statistically, it’s probably better to be 2-0 than 0-2.”Statistically, he would be right. Teams that have gone up two games to none have won the World Series nearly 80 percent of the time (41 times out of 52).Logically, he would be right, too. But not all of what has happened to the Giants the past few days has followed any logic.”I’ve never been one to say luck had a lot to do with what happens,” Vogelsong said. “I think you make your own luck. But we’ve had a lot go our way.”The Blanco bunt was the biggest thing that went their way Thursday.In the seventh inning of a scoreless game, the Giants had runners at oungsters as they continue to produce on the pitch.The likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham are starting to reward Frank Lampard’s faith in their talent.With Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to come into the team, Cascarino believes the Blfirst and second with no outs. Blanco, the Giants’ best bunter, had a 3-1 count after taking three close pitches and fouling off one bunt attempt.His next bunt went a few feet down the third-base line. It stayed on the dirt, and at AT&T Park, that invariably means it’s bound to roll foul.”That was unbelievable,” said Blanco, who crossed first base and pumped his fist as if he had driven in the winning run. “As soon as I bunted it, I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s going to go foul.’ “Flannery, in the third-base coaching box, was thinking the same thing.”You always have to keep the ball on the grass here, or it will roll off foul,” he said. “I don’t know if it was the rain or what, but it didn’t. As soon as he bunted it, I hoped someone would grab it, because I thought it was going foul.”Tigers catcher Gerald Laird thought the same thing and let it roll — and then watched helplessly as it stopped in fair territory.The Giants had the bases loaded with no outs, and when Brandon Crawford followed with a double-play grounder, the Giants had the only run they would really need.That was true thanks in large part to Bumgarner — and also to that relay that was mostly skill, with perhaps a touch of Giants luck mixed in.Bumgarner had begun the second inning by hitting Fielder with a pitch. Young followed with a shot down the left-field line, and when it took a bounce off the side wall, Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont sent Fielder to try to score the game’s first run.Blanco eventually got the ball in left field and fired it in. He overthrew Crawford, the first cutoff man, and the ball went to Marco Scutaro, the second cutoff man.”I don’t know what Scoot was doing there,” Blanco said. “Thank God he was there.”Luck?”[Blanco] is an outfielder, he doesn’t know,” Scutaro said. “I’m supposed to be there.”In any case, Scutaro took the ball and made a strong throw to catcher Buster Posey, whose swipe tag caught Fielder’s back just before Fielder’s foot touched the plate. Had Fielder slid away from the throw, he no doubt would have been safe. But he didn’t.Saved from the early run, Bumgarner got stronger.”That was huge,” Bumgarner said. “I think that might have been a momentum shifter for me.”It was huge, but it didn’t win the game all by itself, because the Giants still had to score a run, and for six innings against Doug Fister, they couldn’t. Without the bunt that stopped, maybe they don’t score in the seventh inning, either.Luck? Or maybe just a sign that this is all supposed to happen for the Giants?”As the great Carlos Santana — guitar player, not catcher — said in 2010, sometimes you have to know when to get out of the way of yourself,” Flannery said.The Giants are doing that very well. The Giants are basically doing everything very well.No, it’s not all luck.But even the Giants would tell you, it’s not all according to plan, either.